NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - A man from Brooklyn is accused of working as a sniper for the Islamic State terror group in Syria.
Earlier this week, Ruslan Maratovitch Asainov, 42, was in the custody of Syrian Democratic Forces, which transferred him to the FBI on Wednesday to be brought back to the United States.
Asainov appeared before a judge in federal court in Brooklyn on Friday to answer charges he provided training, services, and personnel to the terror organization. The magistrate ordered him detained without bail.
The Kazakhstan native, who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, first became a sniper for the Islamic State group before rising to an "emir" status and training other fighters, federal prosecutors said, adding that he also helped to establish training camps.
The charges were made public in a criminal complaint unsealed on Friday in Eastern District Federal Court.
"The United States is committed to holding accountable those who have left this country in order to fight for ISIS," Assistant Attorney General Demers said. "As alleged in the court filings, Asainov traveled overseas, joined ISIS, and became a fighter and a sniper for the terrorist organization. He was ultimately detained overseas, turned over to the FBI, and will now face justice in an American courtroom. We hope countries around the world, including our European allies and partners, will likewise repatriate and prosecute their own citizens for traveling to support ISIS."
In 2015, Asainov asked a confidential informant to send him approximately $2,800 to purchase a scope for his a rifle. Asainov sent the informant two photographs of himself holding an assault rifle fitted with a scope.
After the court proceedings, Asainov's defense attorney, Susan Kellman said her client was reluctant to speak up when the judge asked him if he understood his rights.
"He answers to a higher authority," Kellman said. "He says his ruler is Allah."
Asainov lived in Brooklyn from 1998 to 2013. He flew to Istanbul in December 2013 and then crossed into Syria to become an ISIS sniper, according to the federal criminal complaint.