by Ben Ariel
Syrian Democratic Forces say they detained Syrian-born German national accused of helping plan September 11, 2001 attacks.
A Syrian-born German national accused of helping to plan the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States has been detained by Kurdish forces in Syria, a senior Kurdish commander told AFP on Wednesday.
“Mohammed Haydar Zammar has been arrested by Kurdish security forces in northern Syria and is now being interrogated,” the top official said, but did not provide further details.
Zammar, who is in his mid-fifties, has been accused of recruiting some of the September 11 hijackers.
He was detained in Morocco in December 2001 in an operation involving CIA agents, and was handed over to the Syrian authorities two weeks later.
A Syrian court sentenced Zammar to 12 years in prison in 2007 for belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, a charge that at the time could have resulted in the death penalty.
Due to the civil war in Syria, many hardline Islamist prisoners have either been released from jail or broke free and went on to join jihadist groups fighting in the war.
Al-Qaeda, which was behind the 9/11 attacks, operated a branch in Syria known as the Al-Nusra Front. However, the two groups cut ties in late July of 2017. The group now goes by the name Fateh al-Sham and is designated a "foreign terrorist organization" by the U.S.
The Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group also rose to power in the country’s north and east, but a U.S.-backed alliance has ousted it from swathes of its self-declared “caliphate”.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition of Arab and Kurdish fighters, has caught several foreign members of ISIS in Syria in recent months, particularly since the SDF captured the northern city of Raqa from the jihadists.
The Kurdish commander would not say whether Zammar had been actively fighting as a member of an extremist group in Syria.
The Pentagon said it could not confirm on Zammar’s capture but was looking into it.
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