American ‘fighter’ dies in Syria battle

An American man, believed to be fighting alongside Islamist militants in Syria, has been killed, the White House has confirmed.

A cousin of Douglas McCain told the BBC the US government called his mother to confirm his death on Monday.

McCain was found dead by Free Syrian Army fighters after a battle at the weekend, according to NBC.

The US government believes a small number of Americans have travelled to Syria to fight for extremist groups.

Senior US officials told broadcaster CNN Mr McCain was fighting for Islamic State (IS), which now controls large areas of Iraq and Syria.

“My family is accepting the confirmation that was given to us by the government,” his cousin Jocelyn Smith told the BBC. “I am really shocked.”

Ms Smith said the family had not been surprised when McCain converted to Islam a decade ago, but had no idea he had travelled to Syria or was potentially fighting for militants there.

“He was a beautiful person and whatever thoughts that were going on that made him make this decision were not out of hate,” she said.

“I thought he was in Turkey and why he was in Turkey was unclear to us.”

McCain was born in the US state of Minnesota and had moved to California with family, she added.

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