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Thursday, March 20, 2014

'American' jihadist in Syria pictured with dangerous ISIS commanders -- By Bill Roggio, The Long War Journal

Amriki Shishani.jpgAn American who previously explained his defection from the Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, or ISIS, is seen posing in pictures with two ISIS commanders.

The purported American, who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Muhammad al Amriki (the American), is seen in photographs posted on the Twitter page of a local ISIS commander known as Abu Abdurahman al Iraqi.

Abu Abdurahman currently commands ISIS forces in the town of Tal Jijan in Aleppo province. Previously, he was the commander of ISIS forces in Azaz, the border town where the ISIS clashed with the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic Front before retreating. Abu Abdurahman is a prolific poster on Twitter. He often tweets images of himself or corpses of his enemies. In one photograph, Abu Abdurahman is seen posing with the severed heads of five Al Nusrah Front and Islamic Front fighters who were killed during clashes with the ISIS.

In one picture, a bearded Abu Muhammad poses with Abu Abdurahman in front of a pickup truck with a heavy machine gun mounted in the bed. In another, he poses with Abu Abdurahman in front of a recoilless rifle. Both photographs show him wearing a Multicam parka, and a radio is included among his gear.

"Your brother Abu Muhammad al Amriki and your brother Abu Abdurahman Al Iraqi," a translation of a statement accompanying one of the images says.

And in another picture, Abu Muhammad is seen walking alongside Omar al Shishani, a Chechen who is a top military commander in the ISIS. The photograph is dated Feb. 16 and was purportedly taken in Azaz. Omar joined the ISIS last year; previously he led the Muhajireen, or Emigrant's Army.

Abu Muhammad's real name is not known, and it is unclear if he is an American citizen. US officials in intelligence and government agencies told The Long War Journal in early February that they are investigating to determine his status. [See Threat Matrix report, 'American' jihadi with ISIS explains defection from Al Nusrah Front.]

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