German Al-Qaeda Recruiter Behind 9/11 Attacks Captured In Syria

And now for yet more confirmation that the jihadist insurgents operating in Syria which the media has for the past six years labeled "moderate" are the same al-Qaeda terrorists that perpetrated the 9/11 attacks, and in some instances this is literally the case.

Kurdish forces currently fighting Turkish-backed FSA groups in northern Syria have captured a well-known al-Qaeda member and German national of Syrian origin who had once been tracked and detained by the CIA - Mohammed Haydar Zammar.

Mohammed Haydar Zammar was photographed leaving a mosque in Germany on Oct. 3, 2001. Image source: Der Spiegel via AP/Times of Israel

According to Middle East Eye, citing the AFP, Zammar has long been known to Western as well as Syrian authorities for his direct links to key al-Qaeda planners of 9/11:

A Syrian-born German national accused of helping to plan the September 11, 2001 attacks has been detained by Kurdish forces in Syria, a senior Kurdish commander told AFP on Wednesday.

"Mohammed Haydar Zammar has been arrested by Kurdish security forces in northern Syria and is now being interrogated," the top official said, without providing further details.

Zammar spent years in Syrian prison after the CIA captured him in Morocco and transferred him to Damascus as part of the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program, however, in the midst of the war he was released by the Assad government as part of a general amnesty for political prisoners deal which at the time was demanded by the Syrian opposition and international human rights groups (though some prisoners broke free when insurgent groups took over government towns early in the war).

Naturally, it appears that Zammar promptly resumed his life as an al-Qaeda terrorist, but instead of setting his sights on Western targets, he joined the battle against the secular Ba'athist government in Damascus. 

Middle East Eye continues:

Zammar, who is in his mid-fifties, has been accused of recruiting some of the September 11 hijackers. 

He was detained in Morocco in December 2001 in an operation involving CIA agents, and was handed over to the Syrian authorities two weeks later. 

A Syrian court sentenced Zammar to 12 years in prison in 2007 for belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, a charge that at the time could have resulted in the death penalty.

He was an influential cleric in Germany who helped arrange Mohammed Atta's - the head hijacker of the 9/11 attacks - travel to Afghanistan for al-Qaeda training, according to the Washington Post.

German officials said that Zammar frequently spoke to Atta and visited him at home while they both lived in Hamburg.

The 9/11 Commission Report, which studied why and how the 2001 World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks occurred, said Zammar “relished any opportunity to extol the virtues of violent jihad”.

Counter-terrorism analyst Thomas Joscelyn has indicated that Zammar may have been one of ISIS emir Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's top lieutenants, enlisted to establish an Islamic State branch in the Sinai. Also according Joscelyn, Zammar was known to have personally recruited suicide pilots for the September 11 attacks. 

Multiple reports indicate the Pentagon is currently investigating but has yet to confirm Zammar's identity, who is presumably being held by US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northern Syria. 

Syrian Kurds have long accused the invading Turkish military of utilizing ISIS fighters in its annexation Syria's Afrin canton. Pro-Turkish forces have lately pushed further into surrounding Kurdish areas after President Erdogan initiated operation 'Olive Branch' in January of this year.  

Kurdish media sources say Turkey has covertly sent some of the now defunct Islamic State's most notorious commanders to lead FSA forces in an ethnic cleansing campaign against Syrian Kurds, among them the Chechen jihadist leader Muslim al-Shishani.

It is entirely possible and even likely that Zammar himself was engaged in such a Turkish state-sponsored operation against Syrian Kurdish forces, though details are still developing.