Suspected ISIS fighter from Dallas pleads guilty to terrorism charge, faces 20 years

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In this undated handout image provided by the Department of Defense, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is seen in an unspecified location. - Department of Defense/Getty Images North America/TNS

FORT WORTH, Texas — A 23-year-old from Dallas accused of providing communication support for front-line troops fighting in Syria pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to provide material support to terrorism.

Omer Kuzu faces up to 20 years in prison and is scheduled for sentencing in January, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

The release outlined the following details:

Kuzu, now 25, said he and his brother, Yusuf, left Texas for Istanbul, Turkey on Oct. 16, 2014, and then went to Orfa, Turkey, where they were smuggled across the border into Syria. They ended up in Mosul, Iraq.

The two brothers and 40 other fighters underwent five days of physical and weapons training and were then sent to Raqqah, Syria, where Omer Kuzu started work at the ISIS telecommunications directorate.

In Raqqah, Omer Kuzu pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the Islamic Caliphate, and was given a monthly stipend and a Chinese-made AK-47, and that is where he also took an ISIS bride.

Omer Kuzu was sent to Kobani, Syria and Hama, Syria, where he provided communications support for ISIS fighters on the front lines and worked in the Caliphate’s technology center.

In March 2019, Omer Kuzu was captured by Syrian Democratic Forces alongside 1,500 suspected ISIS fighters. Omer Kuzu was handed over to FBI custody, returned to American soil, and charged with conspiring to provide material support to ISIS.

Omer Kuzu said he knew ISIS had been designated a foreign terrorist organization and that it engaged in terrorist activities.

“Preventing terrorism remains the FBI’s top mission priority. The defendant intentionally left the United States to join, train with, and fight on behalf of ISIS. The North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force worked closely with our domestic and foreign partners to ensure the threat he posed was mitigated,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno. “We remain vigilant in our effort to prevent terrorism as well as hold terrorists, and those who provide support to terrorist organizations, accountable for their actions.”

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