German authorities on Tuesday arrested a Syrian national suspected of being a member of two militant groups in Syria that are considered as foreign terrorist organizations by the German government.
The suspect was arrested by police in the city of Potsdam, the capital of the state of Brandenburg, which surrounds the German capital of Berlin. He faces charges of membership in a terrorist organization, war crimes and weapons violations, prosecutors said in a statement cited by The Associated Press.
From January to August 2013, the man, named only Khaled A. under Germany's privacy laws, is accused of having been a member of Ahrar al-Tabqa, a rebel group that sprang up in the northern town of Tabqa in the early stages of Syria's civil war. He is then believed to have joined a larger Islamist group, Ahrar al-Sham, and to have been one of its spokesmen up to at least October 2013.
According to the German news magazine Focus, the man is suspected of having taken part in fighting armed with a machine gun, thus violating laws on military weaponry. Prosecutors also accuse him of having evicted civilians from their homes in Tabqa to allow fellow fighters to live in them, Focus said.
Both groups wanted to oust the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and put a system based on a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam in its place.
Prosecutors did not say whether the suspect entered Germany as one of hundreds of thousands who have sought asylum in the country since 2015. Some other terrorism suspects arrested in Germany have been from this group.