September 28, 2021

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The United States Has Repatriated 27 Americans from Syria and Iraq Including Ten Charged with Terrorism-Related Offenses for Their Support to ISIS

13 min read

The International Community Is Urged To Follow Suit and Repatriate Its Citizens from Syria

With the recent transfer of custody of four defendants, the United States has successfully repatriated all Americans held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) against whom criminal charges have been lodged for offenses relating to their support for ISIS.  The Department of Justice will review the facts and circumstances relating to any future detainees and, where warranted, bring additional charges against others.

“With this week’s repatriations, the United States has brought back every American supporter of ISIS known to be held by the Syrian Democratic Forces against whom we have charges,” said John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.  “The Department of Justice has worked tirelessly over the years to prevent individuals from leaving America to fight for ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria and to investigate, repatriate and charge people who willingly left to support these organizations.  This was our moral responsibility to the American people and to the people of the countries to which these terrorists traveled.  The Department has also supported the efforts of other responsible nations to do the same, including by sharing evidence and know-how.  We will continue to do so for any country that takes responsibility for their citizens who left to take up arms in support of ISIS’s reign of hate and intolerance.” 

“Preventing terrorism remains the FBI’s top priority.  Through the hard work and dedication of countless men and women across the FBI and the U.S. government, nearly a dozen citizens have been repatriated from Iraq and Syria over the past several years to face the American justice system,” said John Brown, FBI Executive Assistant Director for National Security.  “This announcement should serve as a warning to those who travel, or attempt to travel, to join and fight with ISIS.  We remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent terrorism as well as hold terrorists, and those who provide support to terrorist organizations, accountable for their actions.  We will continue to work closely with our U.S. government and international partners to present a united front against global terrorism.”

“The United States continues to lead by example by working with the Syrian Democratic Forces to repatriate American citizens accused of supporting ISIS and, where appropriate, prosecuting their alleged crimes in American courts,” said Ambassador Nathan Sales, State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism. “We call on other nations, particularly in Western Europe, to take responsibility for their citizens, and we thank the FBI and the Department of Justice for their continued commitment to keeping alleged terrorists off of the battlefield.”

The Recently Repatriated

Emraan Ali and Jihad Ali: On Sept. 30, 2020, Emraan Ali and Jihad Ali made their initial appearance in the Southern District of Florida.  Emraan Ali is charged in a complaint with providing and attempting to provide material support to ISIS.  Jihad Ali is charged in a complaint with conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS. According to the criminal complaints, in March 2015, Emraan Ali traveled to Syria with his family, including his son, Jihad Ali, to join ISIS.  Both Emraan Ali and Jihad Ali received military and religious training and served as fighters in support of the terrorist organization.  Emraan and Jihad Ali finally surrendered to the SDF near Baghuz in March 2019, during the last sustained ISIS battles to maintain territory in Syria.

Abdelhamid Al-Madioum: On Sept. 16, 2020, Abdelhamid Al-Madioum, made his initial appearance in the District of Minnesota on an indictment charging him with providing material support to ISIS. According to the allegations in the indictment and a law enforcement affidavit, from July 8, 2015, through March 15, 2019, Al-Madioum knowingly provided material support and resources, including personnel (namely himself) and services to ISIS.  On June 23, 2015, Al-Madioum, a native of Morocco and naturalized U.S. citizen, and his family traveled from St. Louis Park, Minnesota, to Casablanca, Morocco, to visit their extended family.  On July 8, 2015, Al-Madioum left Morocco and traveled to Istanbul, Turkey, and then on to Iraq and Syria, where he joined ISIS.  In March of 2019, Al-Madioum was captured and detained by the SDF.

Lirim Sylejmani: On Sept. 16, 2020, an indictment was unsealed in the federal district court of the District of Columbia charging Lirim Sylejmani, a Kosovo-born naturalized U.S. citizen, with conspiring to provide, providing, and attempting to provide material support to ISIS, and receiving training from ISIS. According to the allegations in the indictment, from November 2015 through February 2019, Sylejmani conspired to provide and provided material support and resources, including personnel and services, to ISIS in Syria and received military training from the terrorist organization.  The defendant was captured by the SDF in 2019 and has spoken to a number of media outlets about his time with ISIS.

Those Previously Repatriated From Syria and Iraq

Prior press releases relating to the six other defendants who were repatriated from Syria and Iraq are included below.  For the latest updates on the cases, please check PACER or contact the relevant U.S. Attorney’s office.

Samantha Marie Elhassani – Northern District of Indiana:

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-indiana-resident-pleads-guilty-concealing-terrorism-financing

Warren Christopher Clark – Southern District of Texas:

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/texas-man-arrested-attempting-provide-material-support-designated-foreign-terrorist

Ibraheem Izzy Musaibli – Eastern District of Michigan:

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/michigan-man-who-joined-isis-charged-additional-offenses

Ruslan Maratovich Asainov – Eastern District of New York:

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/american-citizen-alleged-isis-sniper-and-weapons-instructor-indicted-providing-material

Omer Kuzu – Northern District of Texas:

https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndtx/pr/repatriated-isis-fighter-pleads-guilty-terror-charge

Mohamad Jamal Khweis – Eastern District of Virginia:

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/american-sentenced-20-years-joining-isis

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