US Army Vet Who Joined Syrian Rebels Could Face Execution

Jabhat al-Nusra in Line With US Interests, Defense Notes

The arrest of US Army veteran Eric Harroun late last month for his membership in Jabhat al-Nusra, a US recognized Foreign Terrorist Organization, and his involvement in the Syrian Civil War could have broad implications, with the latest indications that he could face the death penalty if it is determined he killed people while working for them.

Harroun had bragged about his role in the fighting, making several posts of Facebook touting his use of a rocket launcher to shoot down a Syrian military helicopter, and his involvement in other rebel operations.

Harroun originally joined the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which likely would not have caused a similar problem, but though a strange twist of fate he ended up joining Jabhat al-Nusra during a joint operation, and remained with the group for quite some time.

His defense attorney, Geremy Kamens, has argued that al-Nusra, despite its close ties with al-Qaeda, materially is in line with US interests of forced regime change in Syria, adding it is “extremely unusual for the US to charge a person who is fighting in a manner that is aligned with US interests.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.