- 2012 - 2019
- Switzerland ,
- Syrian Arab Republic
Identification of the Source
Anklageschrift/Atto d’Accusa from Schweizer Eidgenossenschaft (Confederazione Svizzera) and Schweize Militaerjustiz (Giustizia militare) – Military Justice.
AGENFOR made also an exclusive service on the situation on the European Christian Volunteers fighting in Syria, interviewing the leaders of the Syriac movement in Switzerland.
- https://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/schweiz/standard/erster-jihadist-steht-vor-schweizer-gericht/story/10073597 https://www.blick.ch/news/schweiz/tessin/is-jaeger-johan-cosar-steht-ab-heute-in-bellinzona-vor-gericht-lockte-er-weitere-schweizer-in-den-krieg-id15177862.html
XX is originally from the border areas between Syria and Turkey but since the third generation in Switzerland and such as recognized as a Swiss citizen. He was a Syriac Christian, mother tongue Aramaic.
He was serving the military Swiss army as a sergeant and that’s the reason why the he was accused also by the military justice in Switzerland.
First, he left in 2012 to Iraq, having in mind to make on-the-ground reports of the situation of the minorities in Syria and Iraq. At that time his father was still politically active on the field. He was 300-250 km away from the Turkish border when ISIS started conquering territories, threatening Christian communities. He feared a possible Christian genocide.
In 2013 the borders closed, and he decided to join the militia within the Syriac Military Council a former militia which was fighting DAESH and defending the rights of the Christian minorities on the ground both in Syria and Iraq. It is a structured armed force with military hierarchy and uniforms.
In the same year his father was kidnapped from the Syrian Secret Service. We know nothing about him so far.
In 2015 he comes back to Switzerland thanks to falsified documents. He got arrested in Basel as Foreign Fighter. He was accused of fighting with and in the foreign military army of the Syriac Military Council (SMC) without the Swiss Federal permission.
Furthermore, in the same period he was accused for trying to recruit Swiss people for military service within the SMC in Syria. He practically gave instruction on how to be recruited within the foreign army and played the role of the mediator between the interested individual and the foreign military force: he provided propagandistic material for reinforcing his cause.
He denied to have recruited anyone.
Moreover, he published the material on different social media platform such as Facebook, YouTube and exchanging ideas and practical information with those who contacted him under his posts or in private chat conversations.
20th of February 2019 – legal procedure from the Swiss Military Justice started. The former sergeant threatens jail for up to three years for unauthorized use in a foreign army.
Before the legal procedure started, there was a social demonstration against his process. They wrote: “Fighting against IS is not a crime” or “I did not commit any crime, I just defended my people” or “he is not a criminal, because he fought for something good”.
He also stated “I fought against IS, and in this way, I was also fighting the rights of Switzerland”.
Type of Crime
Art. 94 cpv. 1 and 3 CPM (Military Code), in correlation with art. 21 cpv. 1 CPM
- weakening of the defensive force of the country (CH)
- repeated foreign service and repeated attempts to serve in a foreign army without permissions
- provide foreign military service and recruit/encourage recruitment as well as attempt to recruit/encourage recruitment of a Swiss for foreign military service
Furthermore, Cosar was accused for self-recruitment, since he fought in a foreign military service (SMC – Syriac Military Council) without Swiss Federal permission.
Type of attack
The act was perpetrated in Syria while fighting for a foreign army
He first published videos and articles online for supporting the cause of Christians and minorities in the territories of the Islamic State. Based on these publications, he gave advices on the reasons of leaving Switzerland for supporting those people.
Furthermore, he left Switzerland for personally helping them fighting ISIS.
Hanna Johannes Cosar, from Bellinzona (Switzerland), Swiss document but originally from the Syriac community in Turkey
XX, from Locarno (Switzerland), Swiss document but originally from the Syriac community in Turkey
No further information provided
Cosar’s father was imprisoned and allegedly killed in Syria by the Al-Assad government in 2014.
Influential and/or vulnerable Groups
XX was pushed by a strong ideological and familiar situation. He was fighting for basic human rights of minorities in Syria and he strongly believes (still) in the cause. For this reason, we can consider him an influential from a social perspective, and as a perpetrator from a legal prospective (in fact, he was fighting for a foreign army, even if he was a Swiss sergeant without permission).