Two American ISIS Fighters Captured in Syria
Two Americans who had joined ISIS in Syria were captured Sunday by U.S.-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near the Hajin pocket, one of the remaining areas under the terror group's control in Deir ez-Zor governate in eastern Syria. Two Pakistanis and one Irishman were also captured.
Among those being held by the SDF is University of Houston graduate Warren Christoper Clark, who was profiled by NBC News last February.
The SDF announced their detention earlier today:
The operation Jazeera Storm, carried out with the aim of liberating the last regions under the occupation of ISIS, continues steadily towards clearing the last bastions of the group. ISIS, which is now cornered in a small area after being cleared from large swathes of territory it once held, is suffering heavy losses due to operations of our forces. Recently, in order to prevent the advance of our forces, terrorists have attempted to carry out attacks several times. In this context, a group of terrorists who had been preparing to attack the civilians who were trying to get out of the war zone in masses was detected. Following long-term technical and physical follow-up, an operation against the cell was carried out by our forces. As a result of the operation, 5 terrorists originally from the United States, Ireland and Pakistan were captured.
The 34-year-old Clark and 35-year-old Zaid Abed al-Hamid were identified as the captured Americans. Where al-Hamid is from has not yet been reported.
Last February, NBC News reported on Clark's defection to ISIS:
Clark is from a middle-class church-going family with ties to the military, someone who knew him in high school said.
He converted to Islam around 2004, turned to the Internet to research the religion as he became more devout, and ended up on radical sites, the person said. He would watch violent YouTube videos into the wee hours and load up his social media accounts with anti-American posts, they said.
A Twitter account that uses the same handle Clark used for the email on his resume contains ISIS propaganda. "ISIS are only fighting soldiers that have been oppressing Muslims for years. They are liberators," he wrote in a 2014 post.
The report also cites documents concerning Clark that were recovered from an ISIS safe house in Mosul, Iraq.
Included in the documents obtained by the Project on Extremism at George Washington University was a resume that Clark had forwarded to ISIS officials. He was seeking employment under his kunya, "Abu Muhammad al-Ameriki," and suggested teaching English at the University of Mosul.