Government will hold off releasing American back to Syria

U.S. plans to release detained American 'enemy combatant' in Syria

The Pentagon told the detainee's attorneys that he would not be given a US passport.

Jonathan Hafetz, the ACLU lawyer, said it was "truly shocking" that the government would suddenly announce that it planned to release the unnamed U.S. citizen in a country where the United States government advises its own citizens not to go. "But instead of offering a safe release, they want to dump an American citizen onto the side of a road in a war-torn country without protection or identification", the group added.

Government lawyer James Burnham defended the plan, saying the SDF is "a trusted local partner" of the USA forces and the area is "much better, much safer" than where he was taken prisoner by the SDF last September.

NBC reported that court papers said Doe joined the Islamic State in 2014 in Syria.

ACLU attorneys have told the court that the man said he was not a combatant and was a freelance journalist at the time of his capture.

When an analyst listening to portions of the conversations realized they were privileged, officials purged the recordings from a database and transferred them to a compact disc, which it plans to destroy, the Pentagon said.

The ACLU says that the detainee is being held illegally, and has been fighting for his release and repatriation since September.

The suspect, who been held by the United States military in Iraq, was offered the choice of camp or town but has declined to choose.

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But the man "did not identify a preference between the two locations and would not agree to the release" as proposed to him, the filing said.

That means he could be freed as soon as Saturday evening, unless a federal judge blocks the plan.

The American Civil Liberties Union lawyer for "John Doe", Jonathan Hafetz, disputed this, saying the U.S. still contends the man was a fighter for Islamic State before he was detained, and so the SDF would consider him an enemy.

U.S. District Court Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, saying she needed more information about the safety of releasing the detainee in Syria, set a court hearing for June 20th to decide whether to approve the ACLU's motion for a restraining order against the prisoner's release.

Since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, almost 300 Americans have attempted to leave or have left the U.S.to fight in Syria and Iraq, according to George Washington University's Program on Extremism.

Government filings show the man told the Federal Bureau of Investigation that he worked for the Islamic State guarding a gas field and monitoring civilians.

Hafetz repeatedly referred to a State Department travel advisory that states that "no part of Syria is safe from violence" and directs USA citizens to draft a will if they decide to travel there. At the moment we can say that it was defeated.

Despite such claims, prosecutors have not charged the detainee with a crime. According to the ACLU, he was fleeing IS for Turkey when he was captured by SDF, who accused him of being an IS fighter and handed him over to the USA military. But detaining a USA citizen there would present a steep legal challenge for the administration.

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