Accessibility links

Breaking News

American Defector Said Made 'Bad Decision' To Join Islamic State

An American who fought for the Islamic State (IS) group but turned himself over to Iraqi authorities this week told Kurdish television that he made "a bad decision" to join IS.

In an interview with Kurdistan 24 television that aired late on March 17, Mohamad Jamal Khweis, 26, detailed his weeks-long journey from the United States to the IS-controlled Iraqi city of Mosul.

Once in Mosul, which the militant group captured in 2014, Khweis said he lived with dozens of other foreign fighters and studied Islam before deciding to flee.

"I didn't agree with their ideology," he said. "I made a bad decision to...go to Mosul.... I wasn't thinking straight."

Khweis said a friend helped him escape from Mosul to the nearby city of Tal Afar. From there, he walked toward Kurdish troops.

"I wanted to go to the Kurdish side," he said, "because I know they are good with the Americans."

Khweis, whose family lives in Virginia, is currently being held by Kurdish forces for interrogation.

U.S. prosecutors say Iraq will have to transfer him into U.S. custody before they can bring charges against him.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters