An American fighting for the so-called Islamic State was taken into custody in northern Iraq after emerging from territory controlled by the group in war-ravaged Syria, media reports said on Monday.
According to CBS News, which cited two sources with the Kurdish peshmerga military force, the fighter was attempting to return to Turkey. He was identified as 27-year-old Muhammad Jamal Amin from the US state of Virginia.
Mr Amin was intending to escape to Turkey but handed himself over to Kurdish forces after they opened fire on him around dawn near the frontline in Golat village, according to the general, who said the fighter spoke English and broken Arabic.
A local commander, who did not want to be named, told Kurdish news outlet Rudaw that the man had mistaken Peshmerga territory for the Turkish border.
The fighter did not have a passport but was carrying an American driving licence and spoke English and broken Arabic, according to General Hashim Sitei who spoke to him.
"He said the situation with ISIS is not good," Mr Sitei said, noting that the fighter appeared tired. "We gave him food and treated him with respect and handed him over to military intelligence."
“We are in touch with Iraqi and Kurdish authorities to determine the veracity of these reports,” a State Department official in Washington said on customary condition of anonymity.
The New York Times reported a Pentagon spokesman as saying: “We’re aware of the reports, aware that the U.S. citizen allegedly fighting for ISIL has been captured by peshmerga forces in northern Iraq. We’re in touch with Iraqi and Kurdish authorities to determine the veracity of these reports.”
The newspaper added that if the man’s identity is confirmed, it would be the first American fighting with the so-called Islamic State to have surrendered in the field, according to Seamus Hughes, an expert on Islamist extremism in the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University.
Additional reporting by wiresReuse content