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NGO: Syrian army kills three westerners, two of them Muslims

Published: Updated:

Syrian soldiers have killed three westerners, including an American woman and a British man, both Muslims, in northwest Idlib province near the Turkish border, a monitoring group said late Thursday.

“They were shot dead during an ambush in the Idlib region and the army found them with maps of military positions,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The three had apparently been taking photos of military positions on the road between Harim, near the border with Turkey, and the town of Idlib further south when government troops ambushed them, he added.

The incident happened on Wednesday.

The nationality of the third Westerner was not clear, said Rahman.

A U.S. State Department official, in response to a query from AFP in Washington, said: “We are aware of the case.”

Czech diplomats in Syria were helping them in efforts to get more information.

“As we do in all such cases, we are working through our Czech protecting power in Syria to obtain more information, and we appreciate the efforts of the Czech mission on behalf of our citizens,” the official said, according to Reuters. He added that U.S. authorities could not comment further “because of privacy considerations.”

American woman killed while fighting with opposition against Assad

Meanwhile, it was reported that the American killed in Syria was a 33-year-old woman from Michigan who was fighting with opposition forces against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, her family said on Thursday.

The woman’s aunt told Reuters that the FBI had informed her on Thursday afternoon of the death of her niece, Nicole Mansfield of Flint, but said she did not have the details of how she died.

“I'm just devastated,” said the aunt, Monica Mansfield Speelman. “Evidently, she was fighting with opposition forces.”

Speelman said Mansfield, a single mother of an 18-year-old daughter, had converted to Islam about five years ago but that she did not know when her niece had traveled to Syria.

“I didn't think she would stoop that low to go over there and try to harm anybody,” Speelman said of her niece, who she said had worked at a group home.