By: Clinton Inene
Douglas McCain, an American citizen was killed over the weekend in Syria while fighting for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS militant group, United States officials have said.
McCain, who was said to be an ISIS, sympathizer, was killed by the Free Syrian Army, a rival group supported by the United States. McCain was killed alongside six ISIS fighters who were beheaded and the photographs posted on Facebook.
According to reports, McCain, who converted from Christianity to Islam in 2004, joined an al-Qaeda linked group that is blacklisted by the United States. The 33-year-old American like many teenage boys who grew up in America in the 1990s, was a fan of Chicago Bulls and loved to play basketball. However as he grew older, he lost interest in basketball as he transferred between two Minneapolis high schools. He never graduated, and in his late teens, he began to break laws and subsequently got arrested.
In the decade that followed, he was arrested nine times on charges including theft, marijuana possession and driving without a license.McCain stayed in Minneapolis and San Diego before moving abroad. Officials now know he ended up in Syria, where three days ago, he became the first American to die while fighting for ISIS.
A former British intelligence officer, Richard Barrett, who is now the vice president at the Soufan Group security consultants in New York, said, “His death is further evidence that Americans are going there to fight for ISIS rather than to train as terrorists to attack at home. Nor does it appear that ISIS regards Americans as assets that are too valuable to risk on the front line rather than to keep in reserve for terrorist attacks or propaganda purposes.”
This incident Barrett added, “also confirms that American and presumably other foreign fighters are prepared to attack where directed by ISIS.” Some of those attacks, he said, will be aimed at the forces of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, but not all of them.
US officials say more than 100 US citizens had left to fight in Syria or tried to do so, while hundreds of Britons have also reportedly made the journey, along with those from other European countries. The US state department estimates there are about 12,000 foreign fighters from at least 50 countries in Syria.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to lead a special UN Security Council meeting in September on the threats posed by foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq.
American officials said on Tuesday, August 26 that McCain’s case showed the difficulty of identifying Americans who want to travel to Syria to fight alongside rebels. When the United States faced a similar problem with Somalis several years ago, it was easier for the authorities to identify those who wanted to travel there to fight because the conflict mostly attracted Somalis. And Somalis live in a few cities in the United States.
But the Syrian conflict has attracted people from all parts of the United States even many with no connection to Syria.Follow Us on Social Media