Majdi Mustafa Nameh
© Getty ImagesMajdi Mustafa Nameh (Islam Alloush)
A man who represented one of the most brutal jihadist groups in Syria has been arrested in France. Bizarrely enough, the suspected war criminal apparently freely enjoyed the benefits of the EU student exchange program.

Last week, several human rights groups celebrated the arrest of a man named Majdi Mustafa Nameh, a humble 30-something student. He is better known under his nom-de-guerre, Islam Alloush, which he used while serving as the spokesman for the jihadist group Jaysh al-Islam. He resigned in August 2016, after giving an interview to an Israeli researcher.

Following his arrest in Marsaille, the man was charged with "war crimes" and "complicity in enforced disappearances."
Alloush was personally involved in kidnappings, torture and forced enlistment of children into the fighting ranks of the militant group, say the three NGO's who helped track him down and arrest.

According to AFP, at that time the bald-headed bearded ex-jihadist has reinvented himself and was living in France on an Erasmus student visa, meaning his stay in southern France was covered by the European Union. He was reportedly enlisted in the Aix-Marseille University for a three month course, and arrived on French soil in early January. He spent previous years in Turkey studying at the Istanbul University, but had also visited Hungary as a student.

Apparently his self-explained experience in "revolutionary activities" qualified the retired "moderate rebel" for some quality time in Provence. Jaysh al-Islam, meanwhile, has called for release of their former senior member, saying the charges against him must be dropped. They said allegations against him tarnish their image.
Jaysh al-Islam, or Army of Islam, was mostly active in Douma, the suburb of Damascus that was liberated by the Syrian government forces in April 2018. While not as graphically violent as their rivals from Islamic State, the group was still notorious for its atrocities. In 2015, a video emerged showing Alawite civilians held in cages in Douma as human shields against government attacks on terrorists.