American 'fighter' dies in Syria battle

Aug 27, 2014, 2:35 AM EDT
ISIS demands $6.6M ransom for 26-year-old American woman.
AFP/Getty Images

An American man, believed to be fighting alongside Islamist militants in Syria, has been killed, the White House has confirmed. According to the BBC:

A cousin of Douglas McCain told the BBC the US government called his mother to confirm his death on Monday. McCain was found dead by Free Syrian Army fighters after a battle at the weekend, according to NBC.

The US government believes a small number of Americans have travelled to Syria to fight for extremist groups. Senior US officials told broadcaster CNN Mr McCain was fighting for Islamic State (IS), which now controls large areas of Iraq and Syria.

"My family is accepting the confirmation that was given to us by the government," his cousin Jocelyn Smith told the BBC. "I am really shocked."

Meanwhile, an American writer released this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria is doing well and is excited to be free, his mother said on Tuesday. Reuters writes:

Peter Theo Curtis, 45, went missing in 2012 and was held by Nusra Front, al Qaeda's official wing in Syria, whose rivals, the militant group Islamic State, last week killed journalist James Foley. Curtis was released on Sunday.

"He was so excited," his mother, Nancy Curtis, told ABC News in an interview taped on Monday. The two spoke briefly after his release, she said, adding that Curtis was staying in a hotel and even having a beer before heading home. Curtis arrived in the United States late on Tuesday, U.S. media reported. He landed in Newark on a flight from Tel Aviv and then flew on to Boston, where he was greeted by his mother, the New York Times reported, citing a family statement.

After hearing from her son, Curtis said she immediately wrote to Foley's mother, Diane. Last week, Islamic State released a video showing his beheading and threatening to kill another American journalist being held hostage, Steven Sotloff.

"We've been through so much together, and I didn't want her to hear it from the media first," Curtis said of her son's release, speaking from Cambridge, Massachusetts, on ABC's "Good Morning America" program.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE