Canadian Islamist Caught in Syria was Commander of ISIS Unit
The latest Canadian captured in Syria was the commander of more than a dozen fighters who clashed with U.S.-backed forces in the last remaining ISIS enclave, according to a local official.
The former Toronto resident, Mohammed Abdullah Mohammed, was armed with a Kalashnikov rifle and a handgun when he was detained on Sunday by the Syrian Democratic Forces.
While he was not carrying any identity documents, Mohammed allegedly told interrogators he was a 31-year-old Canadian citizen of Ethiopian origin, and a former student at Toronto’s Seneca College.
Under questioning, he said he had joined ISIS over the internet and left Canada in 2013 with the aim of spreading the Islamic faith in the world, a local commander said.
Global Affairs Canada has not responded to questions about Mohammed.
Kurdish forces have on occasion misidentified the nationality of captured fighters but terrorism researcher Prof. Amarnath Amarasingam said he had learned independently that Mohammed was from Toronto.
Including Mohammed, Global News has identified four Canadian men, three women who had married ISIS foreign fighters and seven children who are being held. But an organization representing families of those in custody said it was aware of 21, mostly children.
The detention of the Canadian citizens by Kurdish fighters has created a challenge for the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, raising difficult questions about how to deal with them.