BEIRUT (Reuters) – US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) arrested a French national on Thursday who led a group of Islamic states in Syria and was involved in the Paris and Nice attacks in 2015 and 2016.
An SDF statement said that the arrested man was Adrien Lionel Kayali and that he was born in 1983 and converted to Islam in 2003. He said Kayali, who calls himself Abu Osama, was arrested and then released in France in 2010 on suspicion of belonging to terrorist organizations.
French media reported the name of the captive man as French citizen Adrien Guihal, who was wanted in connection with terrorist activities in France.
SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali told Reuters Adrien Lionel Kayali and Adrien Guihal were two names for the same man.
French judicial authorities told Reuters on Thursday that there is an arrest warrant against Adrien Guihal in 201
SDF, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters led by the Kurdish YPG militia, said it believed that Kayali had entered the territory of the Islamic state in March 2015. SDF said she captured him in the Raqqa region of northern Syria.
The US-backed SDF controls much of the territory east of the Euphrates in the Syrian province of Deir al-Zor and drove end of 2017 activists of the Islamic State from its former de facto capital Raqqa.
Coverage of Lisa Barrington in Beirut, Simon Carraud and Sophie Louet in Paris; Editing by Mark Heinrich