Dallas man accused of traveling to Syria, supporting ISIS

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BAGHOUZ, SYRIA – MARCH 23: A Syrian Defence Force (SDF) flag flies over the destroyed ISIL encampment on March 23, 2019 in Baghouz, Syria. The Kurdish-led and American-backed Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) declared on Saturday the “100% territorial defeat” of the so-called Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. The group once controlled vast areas across Syria and Iraq and a population of up to 12 million, an aspired “caliphate” that drew tens of thousands of foreign nationals to join its ranks. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

DALLAS, Texas (KXAN) — A Dallas man is accused of traveling to Syria and “conspiring to provide material support” to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.

Omer Kuzu, 23, was born in Dallas and is a U.S. citizen. Authorities detained him overseas and he was recently taken back to Texas. His first court appearance was Thursday.

“There are few things more concerning to me than young Americans being radicalized by terrorists’ violent and hateful agendas while in the U.S., and then traveling abroad in order to fight for groups like ISIS,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox for the Northern District of Texas. “I am grateful for the public servants who helped bring this defendant home to face justice in a U.S. courtroom.”

Kuzu and his brother are accused of traveling from Houston to Istanbul, Turkey, and being smuggled into Syria to join ISIS, according to a criminal complaint. He told authorities he then trained in Mosul, Iraq, before returning to Syria.

“The terrorist group issued him a Chinese-made AK-47 and allegedly paid him $125 per month to repair communications equipment for frontline ISIS fighters,” according to a release from the Department of Justice. Kuzu was captured this year.

“Today’s announcement should serve as a warning to those who have traveled, or attempted to travel, to join ISIS that the FBI remains steadfast in ensuring they face justice” said Assistant Director Mike McGarrity of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division.

If convicted of conspiring to provide material support to ISIS, Kuzu could face up to 20 years in federal prison.

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