The Department of Justice announced charges Wednesday against an American citizen who allegedly provided support to ISIS operations.
The indictment alleges that between 2015 and 2019, Lirim Sylejmani conspired to provide material support, personnel, and services to ISIS in Syria, according to a Justice Department statement. It also claims that Sylejmani, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Kosovo, trained with ISIS and spoke to multiple media outlets about his participation in the terrorist organization. Sylejmani, who was detained last year in Syria, made his first appearance in front of a Washington, D.C., federal court this week.
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"The defendant is a U.S. citizen who abandoned the country that welcomed him to join ISIS in Syria," said Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin. "He will now be held accountable for his actions in an American courtroom. Our national security prosecutors and law enforcement partners will continue to ensure that those who threaten our country are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
While ISIS has largely faded out of view for most Americans during the Trump administration, the group's operations remain a significant threat in the Middle East. In August, ISIS jailbroke an unknown number of suspected terrorists from an Afghan prison. The Afghan government believes hundreds of the released inmates are still at large.
"ISIS is waging an insurgency across parts of Iraq and Syria," said Foundation for Defense of Democracies senior fellow Thomas Joscelyn in a June congressional testimony. "Even if the United States stops fighting, the jihadists will not. … An awful amount of violence has resulted from the jihadists' caliphate quest, and they already have nascent emirates in some regions."