A U.S. citizen fighting for the Islamic State has surrendered inside Syria, multiple news outlets have confirmed.
Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Army Col. Ryan Dillon would not explicitly confirm the reports in a Thursday briefing with Pentagon reporters. Dillon explained that procedures for dealing with the ISIS fighter will be handled between the Syrian Democratic Forces and the U.S. Department of State.
The capture reportedly occurred in northern Syria where the majority of U.S. presence in Syria is located.
“I don’t recall any other US ISIS fighters captured and or surrendering” in Syria, he elaborated. The American fighter poses a particularly unique situation for the U.S. government if it attempts to try the terrorist in federal court.
The previous March 2016 case of U.S. citizen Mohamad Khweis fighting for the terrorist surrendering occurred in Iraq, which is a sovereign nation. Iraq cooperated with U.S. authorities and extradited Khweis who was convicted of providing material support to ISIS in June 2017. Khweis will be sentenced in mid-October where he is likely to spend decades in federal prison.
The SDF however are not a sovereign entity.
“As a precondition for Coalition support, SDF and Iraqi forces have pledged to observe international laws and the laws of armed conflict. Foreign fighters who are captured or surrender to SDF partners in Syria will be safeguarded and transported humanely, and their home nations will be contacted regarding the next steps,” a U.S. military spokesman told TDB after its initial report.
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