BEIRUT

Middle East

Los Angeles ‘gangsters’ claim to be fighting rebels

BEIRUT: Pro-opposition social media are circulating photographs and videos of at least two men who claim to be Armenian-Americans from California fighting rebels in Syria. 

One of the men has a Facebook page under the name of Wino Ayee Peeyakan and claims to have been in Syria on and off since 2012. 

In the video footage, he and one or two comrades-in-arms, replete with gang tattoos, claim they are affiliated with the Armenian Power criminal gang in Los Angeles. 

In the videos, the veracity of which could not be independently confirmed, the men speak English, liberally sprinkled with Spanish “barrio slang” popular with Hispanic street gangs. 

Visitors to the page, some of whom write in Armenian, applaud the men’s efforts to fight what they say are Islamist extremists in Syria. 

Analysts who follow the Syrian conflict said the men appeared to be active around Aleppo, which had a thriving Armenian community before the war.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 03, 2014, on page 8.

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Summary

Pro-opposition social media are circulating photographs and videos of at least two men who claim to be Armenian-Americans from California fighting rebels in Syria.

In the videos, the veracity of which could not be independently confirmed, the men speak English, liberally sprinkled with Spanish "barrio slang" popular with Hispanic street gangs.

Visitors to the page, some of whom write in Armenian, applaud the men's efforts to fight what they say are Islamist extremists in Syria.


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