- By Emily TamkinEmily Tamkin is a staff writer at Foreign Policy. She writes for FP’s The Cable, a real-time take on the news in Washington and the wider world. She has been at FP since the fall of 2016, before which she was an associate editor at New America, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington. She has a B.A. in Russian literature from Columbia University, an M.Phil. in Russian and East European studies from the University of Oxford, and studied Soviet dissidence in archival centers in Moscow, Tbilisi, and, on a Fulbright, in Bremen — all of which means that at FP, she writes when she can on Russia and Central and Eastern Europe.
The U.S. citizen fighting with the Islamic State has reportedly been taken into custody.
The Daily Beast reported Thursday that the American was taken into custody by Kurdish troops operating with the Syrian Democratic Forces in northern Syria and turned over to the American military. According to the Daily Beast, he was captured; according to spokespeople for the U.S. military, he “surrendered.”
His whereabouts are not presently known.
The Defense Department and the State Department said that they were aware of the reports and had no information to share at this time.
The State Department official added, “In general, we closely monitor all reports of U.S. citizens who may have joined groups to fight with or fight against ISIS. To be clear, the U.S. government does not support U.S. citizens traveling to Iraq or Syria to join the ongoing conflict.”
This isn’t the first capture of a U.S. citizen fighting for the Islamic State. Kurdish Peshmerga forces captured a U.S. citizen in Iraq in March 2016. About a year later, the Guardian reported on foreign fighters trying to flee the conflict and noted that a U.S. citizen — Kary Paul Kleman of Florida — surrendered to Turkish border police. Kleman, who came to the Turkish border with a Syrian wife, was part of what the Guardian described as an “exodus” of foreign fighters, all trying to leave as the tide turned against the Islamic State.
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