Two Americans among foreign extremists captured by Syrian Kurds

BEIRUT (AFP) – The Kurdish-led force battling the remnants of the Islamic State (IS) group in eastern Syria said yesterday it captured five foreign extremists, including two US citizens.

The two Americans, two Pakistanis and an Irishman were part of a cell planning an attack on civilians fleeing the extremists group’s last bastion, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said.

The SDF has spearheaded the battle against IS in eastern Syria and is close to flushing out the extremists from their last pocket near the Iraqi border.

The force, which receives key support in the air and on the ground from the US military, said in a statement that the extremists were captured on December 30 last year. The SDF said its forces detected “a group of terrorists who had been preparing to attack the civilians who were trying to get out of the war zone”.

“An operation against the cell was carried out by our forces,” it said.

It published mugshots of the five foreign fighters and provided the following names:

– Warren Christopher Clark, USA

– Alexandr Ruzmatovich Bekmirzaev, Ireland

– Zaid Abed al-Hamid, USA

– Fadel al-Rahman, Pakistan

– Abed al-Azem Rajhoud, Pakistan

The Kurds in northeastern Syria say they hold around 1,000 foreign extremists fighters, as well as 550 foreign women and 1,200 children who lived with them.