As published on CNN:
The US has transported an American citizen who is alleged to have been an ISIS fighter back to American soil from Syria in order to face trial for his alleged involvement with the terror group, according to two US officials familiar with the matter.
The officials said he had been previously held by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, a group of Kurdish-led anti-ISIS fighters that are currently holding over 2,000 foreign ISIS fighters from over 50 countries.
The US military helped facilitate the transfer.
“The Department of Defense assisted in the movement of a US national from Syria to the United States. He was previously held by Syrian Democratic Forces as a suspected member of ISIS,” a Pentagon spokesperson later confirmed to CNN.
Iran’s foreign minister says Tehran ‘will never start a war,’ but will defend itself. The number of Americans who joined ISIS on the battlefield is small, compared to countries like France and the UK, where several hundred foreign fighters traveled from.
Fifty-nine Americans are believed to have traveled overseas to join ISIS, and more than a dozen, including a Texas man in January, have faced terror-related charges after being returned to the US, according to research from the George Washington University Program on Extremism. Many more are believed to have died on the battlefield.
But earlier this year, the US government announced that an “ISIS affiliate,” Hoda Muthana, would not be repatriated to the US, despite her pleas to return and face justice. Although she was born in New Jersey, the government said she was never a US citizen due to her father’s diplomatic status.
Another dual US-Saudi national that had been captured by anti-ISIS fighters and transferred to US military detention was released to a third country after that detention was challenged in multiple court actions by the American Civil Liberties Union.