A repatriated ISIS fighter, Omer Kuzu, has pleaded guilty to a terrorism charge, due to the efforts of the North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Kuzu, a 23-year-old U.S. citizen captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces and returned to the U.S. by the FBI after a five-year stint handling communications for ISIS – pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to provide material support to terrorism.
Kuzu admitted that he and his brother, Yusuf, departed Texas for Istanbul, Turkey on Oct. 16, 2014. They then traveled to Orfa, Turkey, where an “ISIS taxi” picked them up and smuggled them across the border into Syria. They crashed in a series of “waiting houses” before ending up in Mosul, Iraq.
In Mosul, alongside 40 other foreign fighters, the brothers underwent five days of physical and weapons training led by ISIS instructors. They were then sent to Raqqah, Syria, where Kuzu started work at the ISIS telecommunications directorate.
Shortly thereafter, Kuzu admitted, he pledged allegiance, or “Bay’ah,” to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the Islamic Caliphate. He was given a monthly stipend, a Chinese-made AK 47, and an ISIS bride.
Subsequently, Kuzu was sent to the second lines in Kobani, Syria and Hama, Syria, to provide communications support for ISIS fighters on the front lines. He also worked in the Caliphate’s technology center.
In March 2019, Kuzu was captured by the SDF, alongside 1,500 suspected ISIS fighters. He was handed over to FBI custody, returned to American soil, and charged with conspiring to provide material support to ISIS.
In his plea papers, Kuzu admits that he knew ISIS had been designated a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) and engaged in terrorist activities.
He now faces up to 20 years in federal prison. Sentencing is set for Jan. 22, 2021.