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    Officer Arrested in Singapore for Plans to Join Free Syrian Army

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    Asia & Pacific
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    An auxiliary police officer has been arrested in Singapore over his intention to fly to Syria and join the fight on behalf of Free Syrian Army.

    A police officer for hire who planned to join war in Syria has been detained in Singapore, according to a statement from the city-state's Ministry of Home Affairs.

    According to the statement, Muhammad Khairul bin Mohamed, 24, an employee of a private security corporation, was radicalized back in 2012, and since then has become sympathetic to various Muslim terrorist groups. In 2015 he joined AETOS, a private security corporation that provides, among other things, officers-for-hire for Singapore's police force.

    Khairul "developed the view that the conflict in Syria was a sectarian struggle between Sunni Islam and Shia Islam, and being a Sunni Muslim, he wanted to fight against the Shi'ites in Syria by joining the Free Syrian Army," the ministry said.

    He first contacted a foreign militant via Facebook in 2014. He used this contact to find out ways to get to Syria.

    "His readiness and proclivity to resort to violence in pursuit of a religious cause makes him a security threat to Singapore," according to the ministry.

    At the time of his arrest, Khairul was still contemplating joining the Free Syrian Army — a group of defectors from Syria's armed forces who seek to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad — or some other group of militants.

    He was arrested under the Internal Security Act, a Singaporean law that allows indefinite detention of terror suspects without trial, the ministry said in their statement.

    Another AETOS employee who worked with Khairul, 36-year-old Mohamad Rizal bin Wahid, has also been detained, the ministry reported.

    Rizal "did not share Khairul's desire to participate in armed violence," but had been aware of his plans since 2015 and did not alert authorities, and "even suggested to Khairul various ways to get to Syria and to die there as a ‘martyr,'" the statement says.

    Rizal was released under a restriction order, which forbids him to move to another country, change address or find another job without police approval.

    According to the statement, Khairul was tasked with traffic management and did not carry a weapon in that role.

    Since 2015, Singaporean authorities have detained 15 people suspected of being Daesh terror group sympathizers. The city-state's neighbors, Indonesia and Malaysia, have large Muslim populations, and hundreds of Daesh sympathizers are believed to have traveled to Syria from the two countries.



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    arrest, radical Islam, Terrorism, Daesh, Singapore
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