As many as 12,000 foreigners have gone to Syria to fight the government of Bashar Assad. Many have joined extremist groups, including the al-Nusra front, an al-Qaida affiliate, and the Islamic State group, which now controls a territory straddling Syria and Iraq. The State Department lists these foreigners fighting the Assad government in Syria:
–Douglas McAuthur McCain, 33, a native of Illinois, reported killed in August. He is believed to be the first American killed while fighting with the Islamic State group. The U.S. is investigating whether a second American also was killed.
–Moner Mohammad Abusalha, an American who grew up a basketball fan in Vero Beach, Florida. Killed himself in May along with 16 people in a suicide bombing attack against Syria government forces.
–Mohammad Hamdan, 22, a Detroit-area man charged in March with providing support to a terrorist organization. Arrested for attempting to join Hezbollah in order to fight in Syria.
–Nicole Lynn Mansfield, a 33-year-old nurse from Flint, Michigan, killed in 2013. Reportedly threw a grenade at Syrian soldiers who opened fire on her vehicle.
–Two brothers who pleaded guilty in May in a British court of conspiring to attend a terror training camp in Syria after being arrested as they entered the southeast port of Dover.
–French citizen Mehdi Nemmouche, 29, who allegedly spent a year in Syria and fought alongside ISIL. He was charged with attacking the Jewish Museum in Brussels in May and killing four people.
–Three people arrested in May on suspicion of aiding the Islamic State group in Syria. At least two individuals had already fought for the militant group and planned to return to Syria to continue in Islamic State group operations, authorities said.
–Eight people arrested in June for alleged involvement in a jihadist recruitment network led by a former Guantanamo Bay inmate. Authorities said the cell found and dispatched recruits for Islamic State group.
–A 13-year-old Belgian boy who British terrorism experts identified in August as having gone to Syria to fight with the Islamic State.