Amer­i­can teen ac­cused of fight­ing for Is­lamic State

USA TODAY US Edition - - NEWS - John Bacon

An Amer­i­can teen was among eight Is­lamic State mil­i­tants cap­tured in Syria by U.S.-backed Kurds dur­ing a mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion this week, the Kur­dish Peo­ple’s De­fense Units (YPG) said.

Soulay Noah Su, also known as Abu Souleiman al-Am­riki, was nabbed by a spe­cial op­er­a­tions team near Ha­jin, Syria, a city of about 40,000 where the mili­tia has been driv­ing out cells of the Is­lamic State, also known as ISIS. The U.S. State Depart­ment said it was aware of the re­ports but had no com­ment.

“We know that the ter­ror­ists are plan­ning at­tacks to slow down the progress of our forces by at­tack­ing civil­ians as a last re­sort,” the YPG said in a state­ment. The other seven peo­ple cap­tured were from Rus­sia, Ukraine, Ger­many, Kaza­khstan, Ta­jik­istan and two from Uzbek­istan.

YPG forces are hold­ing three Amer­i­cans among hun­dreds of Is­lamic State fight­ers the mili­tia cap­tured in sweeps through east­ern Syria.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump stirred con­tro­versy when he an­nounced the United States would pull out of the re­gion. The time­line for with­drawal has grown murky as GOP con­gres­sional lead­ers and na­tional se­cu­rity of­fi­cials urge a longer-term com­mit­ment to Kur­dish fight­ers in the area. Turkey pledged to press mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions against the Kurds, whom the Turks view as ter­ror­ists. The Kurds have been solid U.S. part­ners in the fight against the Is­lamic State.

“We will be leav­ing at a proper pace while at the same time con­tin­u­ing to fight ISIS and do­ing all else that is pru­dent and nec­es­sary,” Trump tweeted Mon­day.

Thursday, Turk­ish For­eign Min­is­ter Mev­lut Cavu­soglu stressed that Turkey’s “anti-ter­ror com­mit­ment” is not de­pen­dent on U.S. de­ci­sions.

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