US soldier faces death penalty for fighting with al-Qaeda in Syria


Former US soldier turned Syrian rebel

A former American soldier who fought as a rebel in Syria faces the death penalty for his ties to a Syrian faction, Jabat al-Nusra, that has merged with al-Qaeda’s Iraq branch. In one video, Eric Harroun delivers a personal message to Bashar al-Assad: ‘Your days are numbered. You’re going down in flames’ 

ed note–more damage control from an internationally-embarassed United States in the face of insurmountable evidence that it supports international terrorism. This guy is there on the ground in Syria because his country SENT him there in the first place and had he never made the news, he could continue receiving his kill orders from Uncle Sam without any legal repercussions whatsoever.
Hours after US prosecutors successfully applied for Eric Harroun to face the death penalty, an announcement emerged in Iraq that the Islamic State of Iraq was joining forces with al-Nusra.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, said his group and Syria’s al-Nusra Front – which has been blacklisted by the United States – would now jointly go under the name of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, the SITE Arabic monitoring service said.
Baghdadi said the Iraqi group would share its forces and finances with its Syrian partner, which has been proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the US despite belonging to the Western-backed Syrian opposition coalition.
Harroun faced the charges of working with Nusra and firing rocket propelled grenades while in Syria at a court in Virginia. The maximum penalty if found guilty is death, and the minimum is life imprisonment.
After his arrest, Harroun, 30, told the FBI that he had killed 10 people while fighting against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
He achieved a measure of prominence during the conflict, when the state media reported that he had been killed.
“Syrian media must be smoking something,” he told one media outlet after that report. “because I am alive and well chilling in Istanbul having a martini at the moment.”
Geremy Kamens, Harroun’s public defender, said the case was “unique in American law”.
“Never, to my knowledge, has the US government charged a US citizen for fighting with a group aligned with US interests,” Mr Kamens said.
The new organisation will be called the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, and its Syrian branch will be headed by Abu Mohammed al-Golani.
Officially, al-Nusra was established in January 2012, according to a video statement declaring its creation, and shares several commonalities with its Iraqi counterpart.
Both groups have achieved notoriety for their use of suicide attacks and car bombs, as opposed to the more conventional fighting methods of other militant and rebel groups in Iraq and Syria.
Like al-Qaeda in Iraq, al-Nusra Front has a substantial portion of foreign fighters among its ranks, including Iraqis, Palestinians and other Arabs. Fighters from central Asia, east Africa and eastern Europe have also joined.

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