Washington, DC, United States (4E) – An American was killed during an armed clash between rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Syria over the weekend.
FSA fighters identified the American as Douglas McAuthur McCain, 33, of San Diego, California through his passport. The State Department also notified McCain’s mother of his death, according to McCain’s cousin, Kenyata McCain.
McCain, who also had a distinctive tattoo on his neck, was fighting on the side of the ISIS when he was killed. He was among three foreigners killed in the battle, an activist connected with FSA claimed.
Both FSA and ISIS are trying to topple the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad but have become enemies due to differing ideologies.
McCain was born in Illinois but grew up in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. His former classmates at Robbinsdale Cooper High School, where he was part of the class of 1999, described him as always smiling, a joker who likes to laugh, a basketball enthusiast and a good guy who loved his family and friends.
McCain had run-ins with the law for disorderly conduct and obstruction. The tattoo shown in his mugshot matches that shown in the photo of his body.
McCain was also a rapper and he performed in Sweden. He moved to San Diego, California after reverting to Islam in 2004 and worked at a Somali restaurant. His social media posts slowly changed from mostly messages about basketball and hip-hop to messages of devotion to Allah.
McCain’s Twitter account went silent for a year from January 2013. When the account became alive again on May 13, he used the name Duale Khalid and was tweeting with self-proclaimed jihadis, including ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani.
After a Twitter post on June 9 saying he will be joining ISIS fighters, McCain traveled to Turkey en route to Raqqa, the group’s stronghold in Syria. Another tweet said he is “with the brothers now.” His last tweet was on Aug. 19.