Skip to main content

9/11 plotter released in Syria prisoner exchange

Islamist rebel group Ahrar al-Sham has secured the release of 9/11 plotter and alleged al-Qaeda core member Mohammed Haydar Zammar, adding to concerns about the composition of the Islamic Front.
Fighters from Ahrar al-Sham brigade pray inside their base in Arbeen, in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, March 6, 2014. Picture taken March 6, 2014.  REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT) - RTR3G5VJ
Read in 

The al-Qaeda recruiter reputed to have assembled the so-called Hamburg Cell, which planned and largely carried out the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, has been set free in a prisoner exchange between rebel and regime forces in Syria.

A naturalized German citizen of Syrian origin, Mohammed Haydar Zammar left Germany shortly after the attacks and traveled to Morocco, where he was reportedly seized by the CIA and then “rendered” to Syria. According to local Syrian sources, his release and that of five other “political prisoners” was secured by the Syrian rebel group Ahrar al-Sham in exchange for the release of Syrian army officers. Zammar was serving a 12-year prison sentence in Aleppo’s central prison at the time.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.