Speaking near-fluent English peppered with Arabic words, Sufyan recounts his journey. AFP / Delil souleiman
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From northern Syria, Muslim convert Sufyan is imploring his native Germany to take him back, having been captured years after joining Daesh's (ISIS) so-called "caliphate". His beard neatly buzzed, Sufyan is one of hundreds of foreigners held by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in war-torn Syria, accused of fighting for Daesh.The 36-year-old insists he was not a fighter, but a misguided civilian making orthopedic shoes and prosthetics in Daesh territory.The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces are holding several alleged German Daesh members, including Mohammad Haydar Zammar, a Syrian-born German national accused of helping plan the Sept. 11 attacks.In 2014, Daesh declared a "caliphate" across large parts of Syria and neighboring Iraq.The following year, Sufyan traveled across Europe and Turkey, finally crossing into Syria in March 2015, four years into the Syrian war.Instead, Sufyan was hired at a hospital in Daesh's de facto Syrian capital Raqqa, using his 12 years' experience as an orthopedic shoemaker.
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