The Muhajireen Brigade, a unit made up of foreign jihadists who fight in Syria, has announced that a fighter from Denmark was killed while battling the Syrian government in early March. More than 500 Europeans are thought to be fighting with the rebels in Syria.
In a video released on jihadist forums yesterday, the Muhajireen Brigade (Emigrants Brigade), which is allied with the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, announced the death of Danish citizen Kenneth Sørensen. The video was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence group.
Sørensen, who was also known as Abu ‘Aisha al Dinmarki and Abdul Malik al Dinmarki, was killed on March 3. He had “an appointment with martyrdom to attain what he wished for in the countryside of Latakia, in a fierce battle between the heroes of Islam and the soldiers of the regime,” the video said, according to SITE.
“Our brother Abu ‘Aisha stood bravely and charged head on and didn’t run away, until he passed,” the video continued.
The Muhajireen Brigade recounted that Sørensen had traveled to Yemen, Lebanon. Egypt, and Libya before deciding to join the group. He was reportedly “detained in Yemen and Lebanon, because he frequented mosques and religious scholars.” Sørensen had claimed he was tortured while in custody, and the Muhajireen Brigade said that a Danish television channel did a story on his detentions.
While in Yemen, Sørensen attended the radical Imam University in Sana’a, which is run by Abdulmajid al Zindani, who is on the US’s list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists for his ties to Osama bin Laden. The US Treasury Department has described Zindani as a “bin Laden loyalist” who has provided crucial support to al Qaeda. Anwar al Awlaki, the American who served as a key leader in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, also lectured at Imam University.
According to Morten Storm, who claims to have served as a double agent for Denmark’s intelligence service and to have helped the US kill Anwar al Awlaki in a drone strike in 2011, Sørensen was not given access to Awlaki as he “was considered too boisterous and problematic by the Islamists,” The Copenhagen Post reported last November. Storm and another Dane, known as Allen H., are said to have met with Awlaki.
Sørensen lived in Egypt for three years, then moved with his family to Libya as its civil war raged. Once Syria’s civil war broke out, Sørensen “left his wife and four children in Libya and deployed to the Levant and joined the ranks of the Muhajireen Brigade and rose to fight the apostate Nusayri [Alawite] gangs.”
Sørensen is one of hundreds of Europeans believed to be fighting in Syria. According to SAPO, Sweden’s intelligence service, over 500 Europeans are thought be battling against the Syrian government; many are thought to be fighting for the Muhajireen Brigade and the Al Nusrah Front.
The Muhajireen Brigade is commanded by Abu Omar al Chechen, a jihadist from Russia’s Caucasus region. The group is known to fight alongside the Nusrah Front and has participated in overrunning several Syrian military bases.
At the end of March, Abu Omar al Chechen announced that the Muhajireen Brigade had merged with several Syrian jihadist groups and formed the Muhajireen Army. The group has “more than 1,000 Mujahideen, Muslim volunteers from different countries, including the Caucasus Emirate,” stated Kavkaz Center, a propaganda arm of the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Caucasus Emirate.