American passport found at al Qaeda base in northern Syria


A passport said to belong to an American citizen was found among a number of identification documents belonging to foreign fighters who have been waging jihad with al Qaeda inside Syria. The documents were discovered at a base abandoned by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an al Qaeda affiliate that operates in Syria.

The American passport belongs to Amiir Farouk Ibrahim, who was born in Pennsylvania on Oct. 30, 1980. Ibrahim's passport was issued on March 6, 2012.

Ibrahim also possesses an Egyptian passport, which was issued on Sept. 23, 2012 under the name Amir Farouk Zaki Ibrahim. His Egyptian passport also states that he was born on Oct. 30, 1980 in the United States.

Ibrahim's passport was among 15 other pieces of identification recovered by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group that reports on the Syrian civil war, at "one of the bases of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham [Syria or the Levant] in the city of Ras al-Ein." SOHR reported on its Facebook page that the documents "belong to several non-Syrian men from Western and Arab countries."

The nationalities of the individuals identified by the documents are as follows: one dual citizen, of the US and Egypt (Ibrahim); one individual from each of Qatar, Bahrain, and United Arab Emirates; two each from Iraq, Turkey, and Tunisia; and two from Saudi Arabia (of the three passports from Saudi Arabia, two appear to identify the same person). Another document appears to identify a man born in Egypt.

SOHR stated that "[t]he documents were found after the ISIS retreated from the town after intense clashes last week with the YPG," a Kurdish militia tied to the PKK, a Marxist Kurdish terror group based in Syria. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which is referred to by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL, has been battling the YPG for control of a border crossing point and several towns in northern Syria.

"We do not know the fate of the owners of these documents, whether they are dead or alive and still active in Syria," the SOHR concluded.

Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups often collect travel documents and identification cards of recruits after they join the fight in new countries.

If Ibrahim's identity as an American citizen is confirmed, he would be the second American known to wage jihad in Syria in the ranks of al Qaeda. Eric Harroun, a former US soldier, is in US custody and is charged with fighting alongside the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda's official affiliate in Syria.


READER COMMENTS: "American passport found at al Qaeda base in northern Syria"

Posted by hala at July 23, 2013 1:38 AM ET:

Correction: It would be the third American to fight along the rebels in Syria. You forgot Nicole Mansfield

Posted by Birbal Dhar at July 23, 2013 5:21 AM ET:

Very good find, judging by his photograph on his passport, you can safely say he's not one of these so called "secular" members of the FSA, if there is ever such a term that exists in that group.

Posted by Hamma Mirwaisi at July 23, 2013 7:06 AM ET:

Syria’s Islamic Al-Qaeda’s war on Kurds

Syria’s Al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra front are declaring that anyone kill Kurds based on Islamic laws (Islamic sharia laws) are going to heaven and free to rape Kurdish women (taking them as sex slave).

please continue to read the article

Posted by don owen at July 23, 2013 9:26 AM ET:

The United States can begin removing these individuals as US citizens, making drone strikes both legal and removing both conservative and liberal objections. The following rules apply to all, naturalized or native born. This makes prosecution cleaner as well.

Potentially Expatriating Acts
Section 349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1481), as amended, states that U.S. citizens are subject to loss of citizenship if they perform certain specified acts voluntarily and with the intention to relinquish U.S. citizenship. Briefly stated, these acts include:

obtaining naturalization in a foreign state upon one's own application after the age of 18 (Sec. 349 (a) (1) INA);
taking an oath, affirmation or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state or its political subdivisions after the age of 18 (Sec. 349 (a) (2) INA);
entering or serving in the armed forces of a foreign state engaged in hostilities against the U.S. or serving as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer in the armed forces of a foreign state (Sec. 349 (a) (3) INA);
accepting employment with a foreign government after the age of 18 if (a) one has the nationality of that foreign state or (b) an oath or declaration of allegiance is required in accepting the position (Sec. 349 (a) (4) INA);
formally renouncing U.S. citizenship before a U.S. diplomatic or consular officer outside the United States (sec. 349 (a) (5) INA);
formally renouncing U.S. citizenship within the U.S. (The Department of Homeland Security is responsible for implementing this section of the law) (Sec. 349 (a) (6) INA);
conviction for an act of treason (Sec. 349 (a) (7) INA).

Posted by Bill Roggio at July 23, 2013 9:50 AM ET:


My understanding is that Nicole Mansfield fought with Ahrar al Sham.

Posted by Bikebrains at July 23, 2013 11:21 AM ET:

What are the two ovals and their contents on the upper right-hand side of the passport?

Posted by Stephanie at July 23, 2013 12:37 PM ET:


It says Syrian Human Rights Watch at the top (the rest is too small for me to read). I'm guess that's the organization that provided the photo.

Posted by mike merlo at July 23, 2013 1:02 PM ET:

Interesting evidence. Welcome to The Nether World

Posted by Moose at July 23, 2013 3:01 PM ET:

@Hammam Mirwaisi
I stand with you in support of Kurdistan. I've stated on this site several times that establishing the nation-state of Kurdistan is not only the morally right thing to do, but will rearrange the region's power structure in favor of the West, but it falls on deaf ears. The argument is that the Turks won't go for it, so we continue wasting our time and effort on the Arab-Israeli peace process.

Posted by Rosario at July 23, 2013 3:32 PM ET:

Don Owen,

Well said sir. Can you tell us the removal of US citizenship requires action by executive order or is there some due process by a federal magistrate?

Posted by ScrambledEggs at July 23, 2013 5:29 PM ET:


It appears that this is the logo for the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the people that discovered this document. Their logo can be seen at

Posted by Angela at July 23, 2013 8:33 PM ET:

It's ok! Al Qaeda is fighting on the same side as the US in Syria.

Posted by mike merlo at July 23, 2013 9:46 PM ET:

"It's ok." Al Qaeda may know which side they're fighting on but the US certainly doesn't. The US is just showing up for the sake of showing up. Other than that its more of the same of the Obama's Administration Dysfunctional Disneyland Diplomacy.

Posted by Washington at Brooklyn at July 24, 2013 1:04 AM ET:

Confirms him as a traitor.
Drones are weapons free if they spot him.

Posted by M.H at July 24, 2013 4:52 PM ET:

@mike merlo,
The Syrian case is more complex to handle than other similar conflicts from the past. Definitely it is different from the Bosnian one but kind of similar to the Spanish civil war when the Russians armed the government republicans in order to fight Fascism,the Germans and Italians armed the nationalists in order to fight Communism, and the British behind the league of Nations supported an arms embargo.
Beside the West-Russia conflict , there is a Sunni-Shia conflict going to a more Islamic civil war. The Obama administration to my understanding can see the complexity of arming one side among the rebels, is this side a democratic one? Will arming one side generate a civil war among the rebels that lead the Syrian regime to take advantage of it?
Finding a good balance is very risky in this conflict.
As in Bosnia, protecting civilians is a major win and a good support to the US involvement in this mercury conflict.

Posted by mike merlo at July 24, 2013 8:43 PM ET:

so whats your point?

Maybe the following 'link' will help diminish the breadth & depth of "complexity"(or is it anxiety?):

"Beside the West-Russia conflict ...," I don't share your 'view' on this. Unlike 'us' the Russians have a crystal clear understanding of what they support & why they support 'it.'

"The Obama administration to my understanding can see the complexity...," maybe you should share some of your understanding with the Obama Administration because they obviously 'don't see what you see!'

Posted by Chance at July 24, 2013 11:23 PM ET:

@ Moose

"establishing the nation-state of Kurdistan is not only the morally right thing to do, but will rearrange the region's power structure in favor of the West"

I'll second that.

The Turks won't go for it. they call the Kurds Mountain Turks implying that their our dumb hillbilly cousins but are not ethnically different, were not their 1st and have not been brutally suppressed. Also the Turkish government forbade the teaching of Kurdish.

But as you know making a state of Kurdistan would take parts of Iran, Iraq, Syrian and Turkey.

Even if you left out 1 or 2 of those countries and did not partition them, they would launch pogroms against the Kurds and try to push out any survivors into a new Kurdish state.

Plus if you made a Kurdish State Azerbaijan would look to take a chunk out of Iran. There are a lot of Azeris in the western mountain of Iran. Mahmoud Amedinejad is an Azeri. His family change their name during his father's or grandfather's time to blend.

I think it would be better for some regions to fragment into ethnic nations. As they became civil toward one another (due to necessity (trade) and practice over time, maybe they could form a federation and come back together with plebiscites and tolerance for religions and ethnic groups.

Posted by Chances at July 24, 2013 11:36 PM ET:

@ M H

"As in Bosnia, protecting civilians is a major win and a good support to the US involvement in this mercury conflict."

Why was protecting the Bosnian Muslims more important than protecting the Croats? I am not a Croat BTW.

We got involved awfully late in the Yugoslavian break up.

1st the Slovenes broke away. But is was so far away from Serbia and so small that there was not much of a fight. It lasted a week or two and most Europeans though of it as more of a farce. Yet people should have been put on notice that more was to come. Second the Croats fought over Vukovar and Osijek witht e Serbs. It wa pretty brutal. The Europeans and the U.S did jack. This lasted 4 years. By now even the low information voter should have seen a pattern. Out involvement looks not s omuch that we were trying to prevent war or civilian casualties but instead looks like a wag the dog exercise. Vukovar and Osijek were pounded into dust and yet there was not a no fly zone. Interesting.

Posted by Mr. Wolf at July 25, 2013 4:22 PM ET:

Anyone else think this is the guy you would want to speak with when the small arms do start to flow from the US to FSA? If he can identify the islamic figureheads, he could be the link to a safe transition to secular democracy.

Then again, if we don't know where he is, ISIS could think the same thing. Besides, do you really think a sitting US senator could just walk behind enemy lines without a distraction within the ranks?

Posted by M.H at July 25, 2013 6:40 PM ET:

@mike merlo
My point is do not be involved 100% in one side when there is major Sunni-Shia civil war. If Russia want to be beside the Shia ( Iran+ Hezbollah,+ Syrian Alawites, Shia in Bahrain and Saudi...) against the Sunnis ( Gulf monarchies, Saudi, Turkey,Egypt,Jordan, North Africa Sunnis) I will wish theme a good luck.

In my opinion, the humanitarian involvement is the best for now until more changes occur.

Posted by mike merlo at July 25, 2013 9:04 PM ET:

Point noted/taken. That being said 'we' are way, way, way past being involved or not. 'We' are in so 'deep' that 'we' couldn't extract 'ourselves' even if 'we' wanted to. Besides 'we' wouldn't even know where the 'Exit' is let alone know of its existence.

As to whether or not Russia favors Shia over Sunni IMO is a moot 'point.' Last I checked Sunni was the majority in the Central Asian Nations who are members of the SCO.

Posted by M.H at July 26, 2013 1:39 AM ET:

@ mike merlo
You are right mike, the majority of the SCO are Muslim Sunnis ( Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan,Kyrgyzstan). That is why Russia is so afraid of a Sunni presence by their borders.
If the involvement of the Russian navy in the transportation of Shia group Hezbollah elements from Lebanon to Syria is true, then this indicate they are loosing their mind by working with a military organization recognized by the international community as a terrorist group. This will not make the Sunnis happy.

Posted by #$%^& at July 26, 2013 7:07 PM ET:

Amir is a childhood friend from Egypt. We used to hang out every summer in a resort by the mediterranean. May he RIP, I'm sooo sad.

Posted by Chances at July 26, 2013 11:58 PM ET:

"As to whether or not Russia favors Shia over Sunni IMO is a moot 'point.' Last I checked Sunni was the majority in the Central Asian Nations who are members of the SCO."

That lays out the issue succinctly. After getting hit by that 2X4, there are no arguments or questions.