Friends of Syria

Eric Harroun claims to have joined up with an al Qaeda-linked group fighting in Syria’s brutal civil war. We tracked him down, but getting the truth was more difficult.

by Greg Tepper

In mid-January, a video emerged on YouTube of an English-speaking man, wearing a black-and-white kaffiyeh and surrounded by four bearded Arab men, addressing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad directly. “Your days are numbered, you’re going down in flames, you should just quit now while you can,” he said. “You’re going to die no matter what … we will find you and kill you.”

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The speaker was Eric Harroun, a white American from Phoenix, Arizona, who hails from a Christian family. He has become a self-described Sunni Muslim, fighting in Syria’s brutal civil war — even, he claimed, joining up with Jabhat al-Nusra, which the State Department has labeled an alias of al Qaeda in Iraq. He served nearly four…

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