Video Shows L.A. Gang Members Fighting for Pro-Assad Forces in Syria
Syria’s embattled president, Bashar al-Assad, has fought rebels seeking his overthrow for almost three years, including dozens of Americans siding with the opposition. But the dictator now has his own American defenders coming to his rescue: Creeper and Wino.
The two U.S. citizens are reportedly gang members hailing from Los Angeles.
Creeper is part of Sur-13, or Surenos, a collection of gangs connected with the Mexican mafia.
Wino (aka Nerses Kilajyan) belongs to Westside Armenian Power.
It’s unclear why the two gangbangers traveled all the way to the Middle East to help Assad.
Their whereabouts only became known after they posted a video online showing them fighting on what they claimed was the front lines of the Syrian civil war.
The Washington Post said it was unable to verify the authenticity of the video or where it was filmed.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) said photos that Wino posted on Facebook indicated he’s been in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Other images showed him hanging out with members of a Shiite Hezbollah militia.
If the allegations are true, it would be a first, since it has thus far been reported that at least 50 U.S. citizens are in Syria fighting alongside the rebels, but none fighting for Assad. “This is the first known instance we’ve seen any Americans fighting with the Assad regime and Hezbollah forces,” MEMRI executive director Steven Stalinsky told The Huffington Post. “Any time Americans show up in such a video is cause for concern.”
Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief for Counterterrorism Mike Downing told ABC News that L.A. law enforcement officials have known about the video for the past month. “My organized crime and gang investigators found it online and on Facebook,” he said. “We’re kind of concerned about their recruitment and whatever other associates they have here... We predicted this would happen -- the [organized crime and terrorism] convergence. What we’re worried about is the ones we don’t know about here or coming back to the U.S.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman
To Learn More:
Two L.A. Gang Members Are Apparently Fighting for Syria’s Assad (by Liz Sly, Washington Post)
LA Gang Members Claim To Be Fighting In Syrian War (by Anna Almendrala, Huffington Post)
Gang Members Infiltrate U.S. Military…and American Law Enforcement Infiltrates Drug Cartels (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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