Ex-US soldier accused of fighting with al-Qaida in Syria

WASHINGTON - A former US soldier was arrested and charged with conspiring to use a rocket-propelled grenade while fighting with an al-Qaida affiliate in Syria against the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad, US prosecutors said on Thursday.
Eric Harroun, 30, of Phoenix, Arizona, was accused of fighting with the al-Nusrah Front, also known as al-Qaida in Iraq, which is designated by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and the FBI said in a joint statement.
Even as US officials call for Assad to step down in Syria and seek to support the rebels, they have expressed concern about militant groups like al-Qaida affiliates gaining a foothold in Syria.
Harroun served with the US Army from 2000 to 2003 and was medically discharged after being injured in a car accident, according to an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint.