Syria Kurds say 8 foreign jihadists captured including US teen

Syria’s Kurds have spearheaded the battle against the Islamic State group in eastern Syria (AFP Photo/Delil SOULEIMAN)

Beirut (AFP) – Syria’s Kurds on Wednesday said they had captured eight alleged foreign jihadists including an American teenager in fighting against the Islamic State group.

The eight, detained on Sunday and Monday, include a 16-year-old American as well as a German and a Russian, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) said in a statement.

Two are from Uzbekistan. The others are from Tajikistan, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

The YPG has spearheaded the battle against IS in eastern Syria, where they are close to flushing out the jihadists from their last pocket near the Iraqi border.

They are the largest component in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who are backed by the US-led coalition against IS.

The YPG published mugshots of the eight alleged foreign jihadist fighters, and gave the following names:

– Adil Rahimov, 58, Uzbekistan

– Farhad Qaderov, 28, Uzbekistan

– Mohammad Dawlat, 22, Tajikistan

– Askar Zarmanbetov, 27, Ukraine

– Sattibek Oshibaev, 30, Kazakhstan

– Bimuraev Begjan, 30, Russia

– Lucas Glass, 31, Germany

The name of the American teenager was withheld by AFP as he is a minor.

The announcement comes after the SDF on Monday said they had captured two Americans among five alleged foreign jihadists on December 30.

The Kurds in northeastern Syria say they hold around 1,000 foreign jihadist fighters, as well as 550 foreign women and 1,200 children who lived with them.

They are from dozens of different nationalities and include a significant contingent from France, the main US partner in the coalition assisting Kurdish forces.

The numbers of US jihadists held by the Kurds are believed to be small.

The SDF, backed by coalition air strikes, in September launched an offensive to oust IS from the last rump of the once-sprawling “caliphate” it proclaimed in 2014.

The Kurdish-led forces have since advanced slowly, but jihadists are clinging to a handful of villages on the eastern banks of the Euphrates River.

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