Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

News

Bizarre Video Shows 2 L.A. Gang Members Talking About Their 'Gangbanging' In Syria

LAist relies on your reader support.
Your tax-deductible gift today powers our reporters and keeps us independent. We rely on you, our reader, not paywalls to stay funded because we believe important news and information should be freely accessible to all.

A video has surfaced of two L.A. gang members, claiming they are fighting in Syria—and siding with President Bashar al-Assad.

One calls himself "Creeper" from Sur-13 (a.k.a. Surenos), a SoCal gang with ties to the Mexican Mafia, and the other is "Wino" from the Westside Armenian Power gang, according to the Washington Post. They are fighting the "enemigos," and Creeper adds, "In Middle East, homie, in Syria, still gangbanging, not giving a fuck, homie."

The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force told NBC Los Angeles they are investigating if the two men have actual ties to Assad's military group, and if there is "any potential threat to Americans or U.S. interests."

It feels like some sort of parody video. The two, who are dressed in military fatigues, are standing out in the open in the midst of a crumbling and dilapidated building, cursing, showing off their gang tattoos, and awkwardly shooting off their guns out into the open. Creeper gives shout-outs to their buddies back home: Capone-E, Mr. Criminal from Silver Lake, Cyclone from Pasadena, and he doesn't forget Pink Lady either. However, neither of them really explain why they're fighting on the side of Assad.

Support for LAist comes from

The Washington Post's Liz Sly writes that there's no way they can tell whether the video is fake or not, or if it's real, when and where it was shot. However, she does say that the background for the video looks like something out of Syria.

The video was posted online from the Washington-based and pro-Israel group Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) that monitors news in Syria, according to the Washington Post, and is complete with subtitles (because they apparently didn't think we could understand these dudes cursing without it).

MEMRI, who told Fox News the video is real, has identified Wino as Nerses Kilajyan. If you take a look at Kilajyan's Facebook page, you will see him dressed in military garb, and in photos with Creeper and members of the Shiite Hezbollah militia. Based on the photos, The two seem to have been in Syria for almost a year.

“I’m pretty sure that they’re in Syria; I have no reason to believe they’re lying,” MEMRI researcher Rafael Green told Fox News. “The pictures show [Wino] with guns and grenades and he’s even photographed in the Hezbollah uniform. It seems as authentic as it gets.”

It looks like Wino and Creeper might be some of the first people from America (although it hasn't been confirmed if they're American citizens) to fight on Assad's side. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a congressional testimony that at least 50 U.S. citizens have gone to Syria to fight with the rebels—not Assad, reported Fox News.

Support for LAist comes from

Green finds it bizarre that Wino and Creeper would be fighting in a war they're not associated with. “He seems to be anti-American and pro-Assad,” Green said in regards to Wino's Facebook page. “He probably sees Obama as an enemy, accusing him rightfully or wrongfully of arming the rebels.”

However, some folks question MEMRI's political stance as a translator for Arab media reports. Brian Whitaker of The Guardian wrote in 2002 that he questioned whether MEMRI was as "non-partisan" as they said they were, and felt uneasy about the group's "secrecy." "The second thing that makes me uneasy is that the stories selected by Memri for translation follow a familiar pattern: either they reflect badly on the character of Arabs or they in some way further the political agenda of Israel," Whittaker writes. "I am not alone in this unease."

As for Wino and Creeper, they seem content in the video fighting in Syria. "We're on the fucking frontline, homie," Wino says in the video.