Reports: American woman killed in Syria
01:16 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

NEW: The UK Foreign Office says it's aware of the claims

A family member of the woman says the FBI confirmed she died in Syria

The report also showed what it said was a Michigan driver's license and passport

It claimed it belonged to a dead American woman fighting with the rebels

CNN  — 

Syrian state-run television reported Thursday that forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad killed three Westerners, including an American woman and a British citizen, who it claims were fighting with the rebels and were found with weapons.

Syrian TV identified the woman, releasing what it claimed were images of her Michigan driver’s license and U.S. passport. It also released what is said was the name and passport of a British citizen. It did not identify a third person who it claimed was a Westerner.

The report said the three were ambushed in their car in the flashpoint province of Idlib in northwestern Syria, where government forces have been battling rebels for control.

TV footage showed a bullet-riddled car and three bodies laid out. It also showed weapons, a computer, a hand-drawn map of a government military facility and a flag belonging to the al Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front.

The United States is aware of the claim that an American woman was killed and is working through the Czech Republic mission in Syria to obtain more information, a State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told CNN.

Citing privacy concerns, “we are unable to comment further,” the official said.

A family member of the American woman told CNN on Thursday she was informed by the FBI about the death. The family member said the FBI did not provide any details about how the woman died.

CNN is not identifying the family member, who lives in Michigan, until next of kin notifications have been completed.

The UK Foreign Office said it was aware of the claims, but is not able to verify them without further information.

Al-Nusra Front

If the Syrian state TV report is true, it will not be the first time an American has been accused of fighting with rebel groups to overthrow al-Assad.

In March, a former U.S. soldier was arrested and charged by the U.S. government with illegally using a weapon on behalf of the al-Nusra Front.

Eric Harroun, 30, of Phoenix, was arrested by the FBI after returning to the United States from Syria, where authorities allege he fought with the militant group. He was charged with the alleged use of a rocket-propelled grenade.

The organization he allegedly fought with, al-Nusra Front, is linked to al Qaeda in Iraq. Al-Nusra has claimed responsibility for more than 600 attacks in Syria, the Justice Department said.

An FBI affidavit says Harroun crossed into Syria in January 2013 and fought against al-Assad’s forces. He posted photos and videos of himself on the Internet handling RPGs and other weapons, it said.

Harroun served with the U.S. Army from 2000 to 2003.

Troubled talks

The report by Syrian state TV came on the same day that a leader of Syria’s main rebel coalition said the group may not participate in a conference aimed at brokering an end to the civil war.