“Havrem,” whose real name is Alex, presents himself as an ideological warrior who ran away from home at the age of 16 to join the PKK and fight for Kurdish freedom. He talks about scaling the treacherous mountains of Turkey as a PKK fighter and of ruthless battles fought against ISIS in Northern Syria, but Alex’s actions reveal a track record of lies, treachery, and betrayal to the Kurdish cause. The truth is that Alex is a fraud cashing in on the Kurdish war against ISIS for cold hard cash.

When SOFREP met with Alex in November of 2014, he claimed to be a general in the YPG, the Kurdish militia in northern Syria, who had been put in charge of the city of Rabia. Alex likes to talk about how he is married to the PKK/YPG cause, often delving deeply into subjects such as socialism, feminism, and the political theory of the organization’s spiritual father, Abdullah Ocalan. He loved animals and played with dogs wherever we found them and would give candy to children. When SOFREP visited him in his apartment in Til Kocher, he had a number of potted plants and even a pet snake which he said he inherited from a dead YPG fighter. “He was such a humanitarian,” Alex lamented.

But when shown a picture of Alex, an American volunteer soldier recently out of Syria stated, “That dude is bad ju-ju. I got the feeling he was playing both sides.”

Far from being a general, he was really just an interpreter for the foreign volunteers who came from the West, according to the YPG fighters SOFREP spoke to. Through a combination of hustling and intentionally mis-translating the words of the foreign fighters, he was able to get himself placed in charge of the foreigners—perhaps 20 or so men.