Virginia-Born ISIS Fighter Surrenders to Iraqi Kurds

'ISIS Fighter' Didn't Speak Arabic, Kurds Say

A person identified as Virginia-born Mohammed Jamal Khweis, a 26-year-old who had been living in Alexandria, VA, was reported detained as an “ISIS fighter” in Iraqi Kurdistan, when he surrendered to Kurdish troops.

Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga Gen. Feisal Helkani reported that Khweis (referred to as Mohammed Jamal Amin in some accounts) was seen lurking near Kurdish troops since Sunday night near Sinjar, and Monday morning walked up and surrendered. He remains held by the Peshmerga.

Khweis was said to be unclear where he was, and had difficulty communicating with the Kurdish forces, since he did not speak Arabic, and kept asking for a Kurdish fighter who spoke English. He was under the assumption he had entered Turkey.

Peshmerga officials say Khweis reported entering Syria two months ago from Turkey, and had since traveled to Mosul, the largest ISIS city in Iraq, before leaving. To get to Sinjar from Mosul, he’d have headed west, back towards the Syrian border.

He was described by reports as a Palestinian-American, and the indications are that his father was from Palestine, having come to the US in 1988. His mother was said to be Iraq. His father, Jamal Khweis, is reportedly a limousine driver.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of