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» » » » Top French jihadi Thomas Barnouin has been captured by YPG

One of France's most wanted jihadists, Thomas Barnouin, was captured by Kurdish YPG rebel fighters in Syria, French media reports.

It is believed that Barnouin, 36, is associated with a French jihad cell, which included Mohamed Merah, who killed seven people in Toulouse in 2012.

Barnouin was captured about ten days ago in Hassakeh, northeastern Syria, along with two other Frenchmen who had converted to Islam - Romain Garnier and Thomas Collange.

They were with the so-called Islamic State.

Barnouin is referred to as a veteran of the IS, who was arrested by Syrian soldiers in 2006 when he was on his way to Iraq with another French jihadist, Sabri Essid.

After being handed over to the French authorities, both were imprisoned for five years in 2009. But after his release in 2014, Barnouin, in the company of his wife and children, went to fight for IS in Syria.

A third jihadist was also jailed in France with Barnouin and Essid - Fabien Clain, who claimed the November 2015 Paris attacks in the name of IS.
They were in the so-called "Artigat" jihadist cell, named after a village where an extremist imam, Olivier Correl, gathered militant followers. He is believed to have inspired Mohamed Merah.
The French government says about 1,700 French citizens have joined IS ranks in Iraq and Syria since the start of 2014, and 278 of them have been killed. An estimated 302 have returned to France.
US-backed forces pushed IS out of Mosul in July and out of Raqqa - the self-declared IS "capital" - last month.

Map showing control of Syria and Iraq (20 November 2017)

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