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American citizen charged with joining ISIS as a sniper
A 43-year-old American man has been indicted on charges he traveled to Syria and joined ISIS as a sniper and weapons trainer.
Ruslan Maratovich Asainov, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Kazakhstan, left his home in Brooklyn, New York and traveled on a one-way ticket to Istanbul, Turkey in Dec. 2013, according to an indictment filed in federal court on Tuesday.
Asainov, who also went by the nom de guerre of Suleiman Al-Amriki" and "Suleiman Al-Kazakhi," allegedly then traveled to Syria and joined ISIS as a sniper.
"Over time," according to a Justice Department press release, "Asainov rose through the ranks to become an ISIS 'emir' in charge of training other ISIS members in the use of weapons. He also attempted to recruit another individual to travel from the United States to Syria to fight for ISIS."
In March 2015, per the DoJ, Asainov allegedly asked a confidential informant to send him $2,800 so he could buy a rifle scope. He later sent the informant photographs of himself holding the rifle with the scope, DoJ said.
CBS News has more:
A confidential informant working with the New York Police Department intelligence division had known Asainov since 2008 and began communicating with him in August 2014 after spotting him online, the complaint said.
Asainov tried to recruit the informant to go to Syria and join the ISIS, saying he'd help get him a job, housing, food and $50 a month, according to the complaint. Asainov suggested he bring his family, too, saying "even grandmothers are coming."
He also allegedly messaged another person that ISIS was "the worst terrorist organization in the world that has ever existed," and claimed that he wanted to die on the battlefield, according to DoJ.
Asainov was arrested in Syria by members of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and was transferred to FBI custody in July 2019.
He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and will be arraigned at a later date, DoJ said.
The command chief of the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, was removed from his position last month after his chain of command received evidence he disrespected his subordinates.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
The "suck it up and drive on" mentality permeated our years in the U.S. military and often led us to delay getting both physical and mental health care. As veterans, we now understand that engaging in effective care enables us not just to survive but to thrive. Crucially, the path to mental wellness, like any serious journey, isn't accomplished in a day — and just because you need additional or recurring mental health care doesn't mean your initial treatment failed.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called on the security alliance's allies to maintain and strengthen their "unity," saying the organization is "the only guarantor of European and transatlantic security."
Stoltenberg told reporters on November 19 that NATO "has only grown stronger over the last 70 years" despite "differences" among the allies on issues such as trade, climate, the Iran nuclear deal, and the situation in northeastern Syria.
He was speaking at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels on the eve of a NATO foreign ministers meeting aimed at finalizing preparations for next month's summit in London.
WASHINGTON — More than $35 million of the roughly $400 million in aid to Ukraine that President Donald Trump delayed, sparking the impeachment inquiry, has not been released to the country, according to a Pentagon spending document obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Instead, the defense funding for Ukraine remains in U.S. accounts, according to the document. It's not clear why the money hasn't been released, and members of Congress are demanding answers.