Former New York stockbroker convicted of leaving the US to join ISIS as a weapons instructor and sniper

Ruslan Maratovich Asainov in courtroom sketch
In this courtroom sketch, Ruslan Maratovich Asainov, right, appears in federal court.Aggie Whelan Kenny via AP
  • A New Yorker was convicted on Tuesday of providing material support to the Islamic State in Syria.

  • He abandoned his family and job as a stockbroker in Brooklyn to go to Syria, per AP.

  • Ruslan Maratovich Asainov trained an estimated 100 fighters on how to use weapons, the DOJ said.

A New York man was convicted on Tuesday of providing material support to the Islamic State group in Syria, resulting in the deaths of one or more people, the Depart of Justice said in a press release.

Ruslan Maratovich Asainov spent approximately five years between December 2013 and March 2019 fighting on behalf of the Islamic State in Syria, later admitting to FBI agents that he took part in numerous battles, the DOJ said.

He received military-type training on how to use machine guns, automatic rifles, and rocket-propelled grenades from the Islamic State, which violates federal law, and later volunteered to become a lethal sniper for the foreign terrorist organization, per the DOJ.

According to the DOJ, Asainov converted to Islam in 2009. He quit his job as a stockbroker, spending an increasing amount of his time watching radical Islamic sermons online, according to a report in the Associated Press.

In December 2013, Asainov abandoned his wife and daughter in Brooklyn, traveling to Syria via Turkey on a one-way ticket, the DOJ said.

While in Syria he provided weapons training to an estimated 100 students, and tried to recruit another US individual to travel to the country to fight for the Islamic State, it added.

The DOJ said that on one occasion he even sent a photograph to his ex-wife of three dead fighters.

Ruslan Maratovich Asainov.
Prosecutors say this man is Ruslan Maratovich Asainov, pictured between June 2014 and April 2015, in Tabqa, Syria.U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York via AP

After his capture near the Syria-Iraq border in July 2019, Asainov continued to pledge his allegiance to the foreign terrorist organization, according to Breon Peace, a US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, per the press release.

The New Yorker, who was born in Kazakhstan but became a naturalized US citizen, now faces the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison.

"Asainov is a naturalized U.S. citizen who forsook the country that took him in – as well as his family in New York City – to instead pledge allegiance to ISIS and actively promote that terrorist group's violent objectives," New York Police Department Commissioner Keechant L. Sewel said.

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