ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Anti-Terror Units (YAT) of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) on Aug. 27 captured an Italian foreign Islamic State (IS) fighter that was planning to go to Turkey. He seems to be the first publically known Italian IS member the YPG has captured.
“My name is Samir Bougana. I have come here (Syria) from Italy. I was a member of the Islamic State,” the Italian fighter says in a video published by the YPG.
“My nom de guerre is Abu Abdullah. I have been here for two or three years,” he continues, speaking in Italian. “Then, I decided to leave. Taking my wife and my daughters and going back to Italy.”
“While I was trying to cross the border into Turkey I was captured by the Kurdish forces, the YPG. I was going to the Italian consulate in Turkey to ask for help to go back to Italy. But I was captured here, near Raqqa.”
Meanwhile, the Kurdish forces said in a press release that Bougana was captured after a special operation conducted by the YAT when he was trying to flee to Turkey.
According to the YPG, the Italian IS fighter was responsible for the shipment of weapons to IS and was also in charge of the activities of foreign fighters in Syria.
“An important progress has been made in the struggle against IS,” the YPG said, noting that many details about the extremist group were uncovered during the Italian’s interrogation.
“Our fight against this terrorist organization that, from Europe to Asia and the Middle East, sustains itself through brutal and inhuman attacks and tries to expand using fear, continues obtaining new achievements on a daily basis.”
Italian political analyst Marco Gombacci and the founder of the European Post told Kurdistan 24 this is the first time that the capture of an Italian foreign fighter by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces has gone public.
“I think he has lived in Italy for many years before going to Syria,” he said, pointing to the Italian accent the fighter has in the video. “He is Italian by passport, but probably he was born and raised in a different country, like the majority of foreign fighters coming from Italy.”
The Italian analyst noted that there are 125 Italian foreign fighters, 37 of them believed to have died, and 22 have returned to Europe, among them, 10 to Italy.
“The majority of them were born abroad and not in Italy,” he said, adding some Italian women in Raqqa married jihadis.
“In Italy, we are also facing the return of foreign fighters to the Balkans and from the Balkans via the Balkan route; it’s easy to arrive in Italy, so Italians are worried,” Gombacci concluded.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany