Eric Harroun, 31-year-old soldier accused of fighting with Syrian rebels, has died, family says

PHOENIX - A Phoenix soldier arrested and accused of fighting alongside an al-Qaida-affiliated group of Syrian rebels has died, just six months after being released from Federal prison.

The mother of Eric Harroun, a 31-year-old soldier accused by the FBI of conspiring with Syrian rebel forces against Bashar al-Assad's regime, told ABC15's Navideh Forghani Wednesday that her son has died.

Read more: US Army vet from Phoenix accused of fighting with al-Qaida

She did not provide details surrounding his death, but said that her son died Tuesday She said foul play is not suspected.

Eric Harroun, 32, was released on Sept. 19, 2013 after pleading guilty to an obscure law about regulating munition exports. He was sentenced to time served and placed on probation.

Read more: Father of Eric Harroun speaks out

Harroun's struggles with the military began early last year after the FBI accused the soldier of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction outside the United States against Assad's regime.

Specifically, the FBI alleged that Harroun was going to use a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, according to an FBI affidavit.

He was arrested on March 28 and placed in federal prison.

According to an FBI affidavit, Harroun, who served three years in the Army before being medically discharged, was engaged in military action in Syria, siding with rebel forces against the Syrian government, from January to March of this year.

Harroun told FBI investigators that he traveled to Turkey in November hoping to join the Free Syrian Army, a rebel group. In January, he crossed the border and made contact with the Free Syrian Army, which outfitted him two Russian rifles, according to the affidavit.

Within days, Harroun participated in an attack on a Syrian army encampment that was carried out jointly by the Free Syrian Army and the al-Nusrah Front, commonly known as "al-Qaida in Iraq" and designated a terrorist group by the U.S., according to the affidavit.

Harroun and his family have maintained his innocence.

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