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Tag: Syria

FBI Investigates Murders of Syrian-American Journalist And Her Mom

Halla Barakat was murdered in Syria in September. Photo via Twitter.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating the September murders of a Syrian-American journalist and her mother in Turkey, but local Turkish authorities are refusing to cooperate.

Halla Barakat, 23, and her mother, Orouba Barakat, 60, were found dead on Sept. 21 and were active in the Syrian opposition against the government of President Bashar Assad. They were stranded and stabbed to death in a shared Istanbul apartment.

Investigators believe the murders were carried out by professionals because their bodies were doused with a chemical solution that delays the decomposition of remains, ABC reports.

Because Halla Barakat was born in the U.S., the FBI has legal jurisdiction to investigate the homicides overseas.

“The TNP is awaiting forensic evidence to be analyzed and currently has a suspect in custody who is strongly believed to be the perpetrator of the homicide of Halla and Orouba Barakat,” Piro wrote to the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in the letter. “Due to jurisdictional legalities, the TNP will continue to work this matter and provide updates to our Legal Attache office in Ankara.”

The bureau told CAIR that Turkish National Police “respectfully declined the FBI’s assistance.”

Syrian Refugees Alarmed by Recent Calls from FBI

fbi-hq-signBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Syrian refugees in New Jersey are alarmed by phone calls they are receiving from the FBI.

The immigrants have declined to meet with the FBI because of their fear of law enforcement, NJ Spotlight reports. 

But FBI officials said the refugees have nothing to worry about.

There is “nothing covert about what we’re doing in this operation,” said special agent in charge of the FBI’s office in Newark, Timothy Gallagher. “When they’re ready to sit down, we’d be happy to sit down. This is outreach. This is not surveillance.” 

Refugees are afraid of contact with federal law enforcement, immigrant advocates said.

“They come from a police dictatorship where speaking to government agencies can make people disappear, sometimes for years, so they’re definitely very afraid,” said Mohamed Khairullah, a Syrian-American and the mayor of Prospect Park, NJ.

In Syria, refuges often had bad encounters with law enforcement.

FBI Warns of More Terrorist Attacks As ISIS Is Defeated in Syria

ISIS flag

ISIS flag

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Defeating ISIS could increase terror attacks in the West, FBI Director James Comey Wednesday.

“At some point there is going to be a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we’ve never seen before,” Comey said at a cybersecurity conference at Fordham University, the New York Times reports. “Not all of the Islamic State killers are going to die on the battlefield.”

Comey said ISIS will be destroyed, but that “through the fingers of that crush are going to come hundreds of really dangerous people and they are going to flow primarily to Western Europe.”

Some, he said, may end up in the U.S.

Comey said the terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris are good examples.

“We in the American counterterrorism business are constantly focused on that — that’s not here yet, but that challenge is going to come,” he said.

Justice Department Files Charges Against Syrian Electronic Army Hackers

Syria mapBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The so-called Syrian Electronic Army has launched a series of cyber attacks targeting U.S. companies and government systems since 2011.

Now the Justice Department has filed charges against three of the group’s members, CNN reports.

The cyber-attackers targeted companies that they believe are oppose to Syria’s Assad regime, defacing websites, seizing social media accounts and penetrating computer systems from 2011 to 2014.

Among the targets were CNN, The Washington Post, NASA, the White House, Microsoft and Harvard University.

Charges filed in federal court in Alexandria, Va., allege the hackers are based in Germany and Syria.

American Man Accused of Fighting for ISIS Was Not on FBI’s Radar

Syria mapBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An American man accused of fighting for ISIS and detained by Kurdish forces in Iraq was not on the FBI’s radar, the Washington Post reports. 

Mohamad Khweis traveled to Turkey and Greece for vacation with friends about two months ago, his family members said.

But the Kurdish publication, Rudaw, reported that Khweis traveled to Syria from Turkey two months ago and was arrested on his way back to Turkey.

Kurdish authorities said they hot at Khweis because they believed he was a suicide bomber. Khweis surrendered.

Friends of Khweis were shocked.

“I’m like, ‘I can’t even comprehend what I’m looking at right now,’” friend Harrison Weinhold, 27, of Alexandria, said. “It could not have been a more normal guy.”

More than 250 Americans have joined or attempted to join extremist groups overseas, according to a congressional report release last year.

Hezbollah Accused of Purchasing Weapons Through International Drug Trafficking

Hezbollah flag

Hezbollah flag

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA alleges that Hezbollah is purchasing weapons for activity in Syria by using cash from international drug trafficking and money laundering, CBS News reports. 

As a result, the DEA said it’s involved in “significant enforcement activity” against Hezbollah.

Dubbed “Project Cassandra,” the law enforcement efforts are targeting Hezbollah for supplying drugs to the U.S. and Europe.

The DEA alleges that Hezbollah is working with South American drug cartels to distribute cocaine.

“These drug trafficking and money laundering schemes… provide a revenue and weapons stream for an international terrorist organization responsible for devastating terror attacks around the word,” DEA Acting Deputy Administrator Jack Riley said in a statement.”

  

ISIS Fighter Accused of Executing His Own Mother for Not Supporting His Terrorist Actions

The unidentified Syrian fighter accused of killing his mother.

The unidentified Syrian fighter accused of killing his mother.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An ISIS fighter is accused of executing his own mother, according to a well-respected Syrian refugee human rights group, the Washington Post reports. 

A 20-year-old Syrian fighter shot his mother “in front of hundreds of people near the post office … where she was employed, according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights in Britain.

ISIS arrested his mother after she had an argument with her son over his support of ISIS.

“His mother spoke with him and asked him to leave ISIS and leave Raqqa to go to a different area of Syria and Turkey,” Rami Abdulrahman of the Syrian Observatory said in a telephone interview, using an acronym for the Islamic State. “… After that he told ISIS and, 1-2-3, they arrest his mother.”

FBI Arrests 2 Men Accused of Fighting in Syria for ISIS, Arrested on Terrorism Charges

ISIS flag

ISIS flag

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Syrian refugee was among two people arrested for having alleged ties with ISIS, the Daily Mail reports. 

The men are accused of trying to assist terrorist organizations affiliated with ISIS.

Omar Faraj Saeed Al Harden, 24, of Houston, was indicted on three charges of trying to provide material support to ISIS.

Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, 23, of Sacramento,is accused of traveling to Syria to fight in Syria. Authorities said Al-Jayab came to the U.S. as a refugee from Syria.

Authorities said there was no evidence that either men planned an attack in the U.S., but they are considered potentially dangerous.

‘This is precisely why I called for a halt to refugees entering the U.S. from countries substantially controlled by terrorists,’ Abbott said in a statement.

‘I once again urge the President to halt the resettlement of these refugees in the United States until there is an effective vetting process that will ensure refugees do not compromise the safety of Americans and Texans.’