Former Brooklyn man accused of fighting, recruiting for ISIS

A former Brooklyn resident faces 20 years for serving ISIS as a sniper and recruiter.
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A one-time Brooklyn resident faces 20 years in prison for allegedly serving Islamic terrorist group ISIS as a high-ranking sniper, according to federal court documents unsealed Friday.

Ruslan Maratovich Asainov, 41, has provided training, services, and personnel to the designated terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham for the last five years, according to U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue.

The suspect — a naturalized United States citizen born in Kazakhstan — lived in Brooklyn from 1998 until December 2013, when he left his Bay Ridge home to travel to Syria via Turkey to join ISIS as a marksman, before rising to the rank of “emir,” when he began training other members and attempting to recruit additional radicals from the U.S. — betraying his adopted country, Donoghue said.

“The defendant, a naturalized U.S. citizen residing in Brooklyn, turned his back on the country that took him in and joined ISIS, serving its violent ends in Syria and attempting to recruit others to its cause,” stated Donoghue.

The defendant fought for ISIS for at least a year after he arrived in Syria, a U.S. based informant told agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigations, who also reviewed messages the pair exchanged between 2014 and 2015.

After the informant texted Asainov to ask him about ISIS, he tried to recruit the English speaking whistleblower for the group’s media operations, telling him that the terrorist organization would provide him a job, housing, food, and a $50 stipend per month, noting that “even the grandmothers are coming,” according to authorities.

In March 2015, Asainov asked the informant to send him $2,800 so that he could buy a scope for his rifle, as well as other military equipment. The informant didn’t send the money, according to a spokesman for Donoghue.

The American-backed Syrian Democratic Forces got a hold of Asainov, detaining him for several months before handing him over to federal agents, who transferred him to the U.S. on July 18, where he arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Asainov was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven Gold Friday afternoon, who ordered that he be held without bail until his next court date, which has not been set.

The former Brooklynite held his head down and answered Judge Gold’s questions only reluctantly, and his defense attorney claimed her client does not recognize the American court’s legal authority.

“I think he doesn’t recognize our courts to be a legitimate authority and he was making that point,” Susan Kellman told reporters outside the federal courthouse on Cadman Plaza E. after the arraignment.

Asainov has not been formally charged, and federal prosecutors have 30 days to make their case before a grand jury seeking an indictment.

The 5-feet 4-inch defendant sported a buzz cut and a short goatee on Friday, and appeared wearing a white t-shirt and black pants in court.

Kellman described him to reporters as “pleasant” and “respectful,” adding that he spoke fluent English from his 15 years of living in Kings County.

“His English is perfect and he lived in Brooklyn — he’s a Brooklyn boy,” she said.

He has family overseas, but Kellman said she wasn’t aware whether he had any relations in the U.S.

She also could not say how long Syrian forces kept Asainov in prison, or what the conditions were like there. The attorney did, however, note that other clients she’s dealt with reported brutal conditions overseas.

“I’ve talked to other clients in other cases and the conditions they were held in — they weren’t in Syria — but boy they don’t do such a good job in Libya or Djibouti,” Kellman said.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.
Updated 3:57 pm, July 19, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Mai Dai from Homecrest says:
To be honest, after he left Brooklyn and moved permanently to Syria, I totally lost interest. I couldn't care any less.
July 19, 2019, 3:56 pm
Mbango Wagadougou from The Institute says:
He was from Bay Ridge? Hmmmm, who else do we know that comes from Bay Ridge? Better put Henry Ford on a watch list.
July 19, 2019, 4:50 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
I'm good Mbango, Maybe you should be on the list since you are a white guy hating on black folks. That sounds like white supremacy, I think the feds should be notified. I( will talk to some guys at the agency. Don't leave the city for a while, we'll know by the way.
July 19, 2019, 9:42 pm
ProspectHeightsResident from Prospect Heights says:
Probably an Obama/Biden supporter.
July 20, 2019, 2:23 am
Robert Francis O’Rourke says:
I hear he is a huge fan of Ilhan Omar and AOC
July 20, 2019, 7:20 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
He’s certainly not the first jihadist from Bay Ridge and likely not the last.
July 20, 2019, 7:45 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Probably the same type of loser who posts comments here at 3:23am, FYI the time stamp is off by 1 hour.
July 20, 2019, 2:22 pm
Bill DeWall says:
Send them all back to their backwards, third world, hellhole countries!
July 20, 2019, 2:52 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
GFYS, Bill! We should send you to the sun with all your fellow racist trumpturds.
July 20, 2019, 5:59 pm
Fallaphel Al-Shabibi from Bay Ridge says:
Unfortunatley, many Muslims in Bay Ridge are terrorists. Or at least support them.
July 20, 2019, 6:28 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
Henry, you seem disturbed; obsessed even. Have you considered seeking professional help?
July 20, 2019, 10:11 pm
JaBooty Jackson says:
According to BP, you are not supposed to post content that is ‘abusive, vulgar, obscene, slanderous, hateful, threatening....’. That is all Henry Ford posts! How is this individual not banned permanently from this site unless he is related to the family that owns this paper? He offers a glimpse into the censorship and hatred that would arise if AOC or any of those vile Socialists get any power in this country. Any opposing viewpoints will be banned and then you will disappear.
July 21, 2019, 7:29 am
George Soros from Katonah says:
Yes Henry, we need to censor JaBooty as she is a real threat to our master plan to keep the masses under our control. I don’t like it when the minorities step out of line and dare to not vote Democrat. We don’t like uppity folk like JaBooty thinking for themselves. Something must be done about her/he/ze. We cannot, will not, allow others to be red pilled. Thank you for your service comrade Ford.
July 21, 2019, 9:47 am

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