The 20-year-old man reveals himself to have been lonely, socially inept, depressed and seeing a therapist. In 2013 he became a convert to Islam, seeking solace in online extremist teachings, a year after his conversion finding himself on the Internet, amongst others, a like-minded lost-soul from Latvia with whom he shared an affection for gaming.
The small-town shy kid had come out to his parents about his conversion to Islam while planning to pursue university studies but while under military service abandoned his plans in favor of his former extremist leanings, now in the context of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s new renegade fundamentalist organization’s rule of rampage across swaths of Syria and Iraq.
At this point he also met his Latvian friend in person for the first time in Helsinki.
He rebelled finally against his Finnish military commanders, ejecting himself from the national conscription.
After actively seeking contacts with ISIS supporters and fighters on Twitter during a failed search for employment in Finland, by September he and the Latvian were on their way to Syria.
In chats with YLE reporter Sara Rigatelli he says he is grateful for the training and experience now that he was in Syria. He said he was stationed on guard duty and has not joined any fighting.
According to his Twitter account, YLE reports he has been in the towns of Hama, Homs and Raqqa, which is the capital of the self-proclaimed Islamic state. His comrades all him ‘al Finlandi’, but he claims to now reject his national origin. He’ll come back to Finland only if and when it joins the caliphate. He has made no further mention of his Latvian co-convert brother-in-arms.
Meanwhile, Latvia’s Security Police (DP) confirmed that the agency is aware of a Latvian citizen working on behalf of Islamic State and already possibly in Syria. If it turns out to be true, upon his return to the homeland, the DP he would most likely face criminal liability for his actions as a foreign fighter.