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How French Truck Driver Became A Target Of U.s. Air War In Syria | Nation & World | The Seattle Times

Drugeon was wounded, though not fatally, and was taken by ambulance to Shifa hospital near the Bab al-Hawa border crossing to Turkey, the witness said. After 24 hours, Nusra Front fighters removed him to an undisclosed location, according to the witness, who asked that his name and nationality be withheld. U.S. officials announced the airstrikes, saying they had taken place near Sarmada, but provided no more information. Drugeons current whereabouts are unknown. Little in the official accounts of Drugeons background explains how he came to be one of the central figures in a U.S. military effort that appears to be as much manhunt as strategic jockeying for advantage. French officials downplay his significance, dismissing claims by European intelligence officials that the French had described him as a big fish with knowledge of Western intelligence tradecraft in seeking to have him targeted by the U.S. military campaign in Syria. But the two strikes against Drugeon also suggest he is more than just another European who has joined the jihad against Med Flight Evac the West. A monthlong probe spanning five countries and interviews with more than a dozen intelligence officials found many who believe the French intelligence service once recruited Drugeon to work as an informant inside al-Qaida, only to see him pursue a life of jihad. Drugeon first came to the attention of international intelligence services the French were aware of him sooner as the rumored mastermind behind a lone wolf attack in March 2012, when a Frenchman of Algerian descent, Mohammed Merah, killed three Jewish schoolchildren and four others in a shooting spree across southern France. It was then, according to three non-French European intelligence officials, that Drugeons name began appearing in intelligence reports provided by the French government that described him as having an intelligence background and military training before joining al-Qaida in Waziristan, the mountainous region of Pakistan where al-Qaida continues to maintain safe havens and training facilities. They put him out as this super-dangerous guy with, and Im quoting from the report here, familiarity with Western intelligence tradecraft and practices, said one European intelligence official. There was no ambiguity to the reports, which also stated that hed received military and explosives training, and it was stated in a way that led us to believe these skills had come from training with the French government, the official added. That same description was given to Syrian rebels who said they were asked to monitor Drugeon on behalf of a Western intelligence service that they believed was part of the U.S. government. Interviewed in Turkey in early October, the Syrians said they had been told that the Frenchman was a highly trained former French spy and that they should report on his movements and prepare a kidnapping operation to turn him over to Western authorities. The Syrian rebels account of Drugeon was later confirmed by two European intelligence officials from different countries who had direct access to the intelligence provided by France about Drugeon. The French government now strongly denies that Drugeon was a member of military intelligence or that any member of Frances main foreign intelligence service, the General Directorate of Foreign Security, known by the initials DGSE, had defected to al-Qaida.

To get the primary version consisting of all supplementary photographs or video clip, check out How French truck driver became a target of U.S. air war in Syria | Nation & World | The Seattle Times

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