Video: Kurds capture American ISIS fighter

posted at 8:41 am on March 14, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

“Capture” might be too strong a word. Muhammad Jamal Amin apparently wanted to leave the fighting in Mosul, and thought he was heading for the Turkish border. Instead, Amin ran into the front line of the Peshmerga, who fired at him until they realized he wanted to surrender:

Reports suggested that the peshmerga initially believed the suspect was a suicide bomber, and that they fired warning shots at him, but that he then identified himself as former militant with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) who wished to turn himself in.

According to the reports, Amin had only been in the region fighting with ISIS for a couple months. …

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad told CBS News it could not confirm the detention of an Americna, indicating it had only recently become aware of the reports.

U.S. intelligence officials believe about a dozen American citizens have going to fight with ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Rûdaw has more, including a picture of Amin’s Virginia driver’s license and his credit cards:

Muhammad Jamal Amin is a Virginia-born American citizen of a Palestinian father and Iraqi mother from Mosul.

According to the Peshmerga commander of the Shingal front who didn’t want to be named, the ISIS militant had mistaken the Peshmerga territory for the Turkish border.

The commander said that Amin had entered Syria from Turkey two months ago from where he had traveled to Mosul.

The explanation from Rûdaw makes more sense. If Amin wanted to get out of ISIS, the smart move would have been to get back to Turkey and try to find his way back to the US. The worst possible move would be to drop in on the Kurds near Sinjar, where his fellow ISIS fanatics perpetrated a genocide. The Kurds committed a relatively minor violation of the rules of war by pushing Amin out in front of cameras here, but Amin will be lucky if that’s the worst he faces.

The question now will be whether the US knew Amin was fighting for ISIS. CBS reports that the US acknowledges around a dozen Americans have defected to the enemy, but do we know specifically who they are? Could Amin have gotten back inside the US without authorities knowing of his status? Apart from that, Amin had better hope that he’s bringing the US some actionable intelligence, or he’ll be spending the next few decades in prison, if he’s lucky enough to avoid charges of treason.


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