A US citizen who fought for ISIS is being transferred back to the United States by the Department of Defense in order to face prosecution by the Department of Justice, a US defense official tells CNN.
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces captured the individual, whose name is Ibrahim Musaibli, last month while he was attempting to escape the Middle Euphrates River Valley where ISIS maintains the majority of the terror group’s last remaining redoubts.
Musaibli was being kept in detention by the SDF where US officials have had access to him and have been able to question him.
He is being transferred back to the United States along with another detainee, Samantha El Hassani, a US citizen who married an ISIS member. She will also likely face prosecution, the official said.
The decision to quickly transfer Musaibli back to the United States to face prosecution by the Department of Justice stands in stark contrast with how the US military has handled another American citizen who was captured on the battlefield in Syria and is accused of also having been a member of ISIS.
That individual, a dual US-Saudi national, remains in detention in Iraq and his fate has been the subject of a months-long legal battle between the US government and the ACLU.
Musaibli’s transfer was first reported by the New York Times.
The Pentagon declined to comment on the transfer but on Wednesday a spokesman for the Defense Department told CNN that the US-backed SDF had nearly 600 foreign terrorist fighters in custody from some 40 countries. The Justice Department declined to comment.
A US military official with the coalition fighting ISIS told CNN that of the foreign terrorist fighters in detention, about 40 are from Russia and about dozen are from Germany and a similar number are from France.