A Valley man is in federal custody, accused of joining up with an Al-Qaida group overseas.
Eric Harroun, 30, appeared in federal court in Virginia on Thursday, when he was charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction outside the United States.
"I don't think there is any truth in any of this. He's very patriotic," said Harroun's father, Darryl Harroun, who still lives in Phoenix.
Harroun recently appeared on a YouTube video with four bearded Arab men. Harroun looked at the camera and told Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, "Your days are numbered. You're going down in flames. You should just quit now while you can. You're going to die no matter what. ... We will find you and kill you."
Harroun is a former U.S. Army private who served from 2000 to 2003 but was never sent into combat, according to recent news reports.
A number of photos were posted on Harroun's Facebook page, showing Harroun fighting in Syria.
According to a recent news article on www.foreignpolicy.com, the Valley man now considers himself a freedom fighter who has dedicated himself to fighting alongside radical Islamic forces in Syria in an attempt to overthrow al-Assad.
In one video, Harroun is in a jeep with other rebels, who claim to have shot down a Syrian Army helicopter.
Harroun's pictures and videos got the attention of the FBI, who asked the Valley man to come in for questioning at the U.S. consulate in Turkey earlier this month.
Harroun was arrested Wednesday at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, where he was charged with conspiring with an Al-Qaida group to wage war against the Syrian regime.
Harroun recently told a reporter that he would never harm American soldiers.
However, court records indicate that the groups Harroun was hanging out with were terrorist organizations with extreme anti-American agendas.
"I have no idea what he's doing over there except that he's trying to help out the civilian people over there against the regime that's in power in Syria right now," said Harroun's father.
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