A man who is now believed to be the masked man featured in several threatening and horrific ISIS propaganda videos, says he comes from Canada.
Mohammed Abdullah Mohammed was captured by Kurdish forces during a gun battle in Syria against the remaining ISIS forces.
In a video he says there are still thousands of ISIS fighters in the stronghold in eastern Syria, but many are trying to escape to Turkey using smugglers.
In a video in English, he says he’s originally from Ethiopia but came to Syria from Canada in 2013.
Canadian terrorism researcher Professior Amarnath Amarasingam, a senior research fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, says the voice in the ISIS “Flames of War” and other propaganda videoa is “pretty similar” to that of the captured man. He believes the man studied at Seneca college in Toronto before leaving for Syria. Previously other analysts of the ISIS videos have noted that the voice speaks in a Canadian accent.
Professor Amarasingam also says he was also contacted by an apparent friend of the captured man who recognized the man right away as his friend growing up together in Toronto adding Mohammed had adopted the name Abu Ridwan as his convctions deepened.
Analysts say that because the man was captured in the last holdout of ISIS, it suggests that he is not merely an expendible foot soldier.
Canadian security forces have estimated that there were about 250 people connected with conflicts abroad who also have a connection to Canada. They believe 190 are still abroad while 60 have returned to this country. Of those, 55 have been charged with one or more crimes.
The minister of public security says every Canadian citizen has the right to return to Canada “no matter how reprehensible” but Canada has no obligation to help them return.
He also noted that it is difficult to get evidence against them as crimes may have been convicted abroad and in circumstances where that evidence is difficult or impossible to obtain.
- CBC: Jan 16/19: Video shows purported ISIS fighter from Canada (+ videos)
- Post Media: A Humphries: Captured Canadian may have appeared in execution video.
- Global: S Bell: jan 14/19: Alleged Canadian captured by Kurds
- Globe and Mail: J Dickson: Jan 16.19: Minister clarifies position about foreign fighters