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Teenager Captured With ISIS Fighters Is From Trinidad, Not the U.S., Officials Say

A 16-year-old boy who was once captured on the battlefield in Syria this week with opponents for the Islamic State isn’t American, however is as an alternative from Trinidad and Tobago, consistent with American officers and the boy’s sister.

The youngster was once taken from the Caribbean country to the conflict zone when he was once 12 via his mom, who transformed to Islam after turning into romantically concerned with a radicalized guy, Sarah Lee Su, the boy’s older sister, mentioned in a telephone interview.

After a four-year silence, she heard from them for the first time ultimate month, when her mom contacted her on Facebook Messenger and despatched a chain of audio recordings that mentioned the two have been alive and pleading for lend a hand. She mentioned they have been hiding someplace in Syria.

“I need money to help us get out of here,” Gailon Su, the mom, mentioned in certainly one of the recordings she despatched to her daughter, which was once shared with The New York Times. “If not me, your brother. He is innocent.”

The American-backed armed forces that introduced the boy’s seize on Wednesday mentioned he was once amongst 3 American voters apprehended in fresh days in the combat zone preventing for the Islamic State, which is often known as ISIS. But Pentagon and State Department officers mentioned most effective certainly one of the 3 — Warren Christopher Clark, 34, a former exchange instructor from Texas — was once an American.

On Friday, two American officers mentioned that Mr. Clark would quickly be transferred to F.B.I. custody. He can be flown to the United States, the place he’ll face federal fees in Houston, the officers mentioned.

The 16-year-old, who was once erroneously known in a information unencumber from the American-backed armed forces as Soulay Noah Su, an American citizen, is in reality Su-lay Su from Trinidad, the boy’s sister mentioned. She identified him in a picture launched via the armed forces, the Syrian Democratic Forces, she mentioned.

A crew led via Hany Farid, a Dartmouth College laptop science professor, used facial identity instrument to check the picture with photographs of Su-lay posted on social media and concluded with “high confidence” that the two have been the identical individual.

Ms. Su, 23, mentioned her mom and brother had fallen below the sway of a Trinidadian guy who sooner or later persuaded them in 2014 to trip to the budding ISIS caliphate. “Once they got to Syria,” Ms. Su mentioned, “they told me that this guy took their documents and destroyed them, and said, ‘You are now going to stay here and die.’”

In the audio recordings Gailon Su despatched to her daughter, she mentioned, “Everyone wants to be blaming me, that I did bad things to my children. I just married a man.”

According to a database maintained via Simon Cottee, a University of Kent criminologist, the mom and son have been a part of a gaggle of 10 folks taken to Syria via Anthony Hamlet; additionally incorporated have been Mr. Hamlet’s 2nd spouse, two of his daughters and 3 different boys, Mr. Cottee mentioned.

After departing in September 2014, Mr. Hamlet seemed in ISIS propaganda, together with in a photograph unfold in the terror crew’s on-line mag and in a video through which he’s proven on his abdomen, peering via the scope of a rifle.

“In my research on ISIS in Trinidad, one of my most striking findings is the block nature of the migrations to Syria and Iraq,” mentioned Mr. Cottee, who is operating on a e-book on jihadists from Trinidad, which has certainly one of the international’s best possible in keeping with capita charges of recruitment to ISIS. Mr. Cottee first spotted the captured youngster had a equivalent title to at least one in his database on Wednesday.

“It wasn’t just individuals going,” he mentioned. “It was entire families looking to remake their lives in the so-called caliphate.”

Little is understood about the mom and son’s time in Syria and the mom’s present whereabouts is unknown.

The boy’s Facebook timeline, which is sparse, finds just a handful of pictures that talk to imaginable army job. Of better passion to him seem to be posts about flashy hightop shoes. Because Su-lay was once 12 when his mom took him to Syria, “He didn’t have any say or agency in the matter,” Mr. Cottee mentioned. “So he is a victim as much as a perpetrator in the Syrian jihad.”

The posts via his mom on her Facebook web page, known as original via her daughter, indicated extra company in her personal radicalization in addition to a willingness to fortify her son’s exploration of army actions.

In a put up in 2013, a 12 months sooner than they left for Syria, Su-lay’s mom congratulated him on his very good grades. A 12 months later, she favored a photograph that her son had posted, probably from Syria, of a fixed rifle. The following 12 months, she favored a photograph appearing him in what gave the impression to be army fatigues.

But in certainly one of the ultimate messages she despatched to her daughter ultimate month, Ms. Su mentioned she didn’t need her son to struggle.

“Yesterday some people stopped him and they want him to go and fight,” she mentioned in the audio message. “I don’t want my child to be crippled.”

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