The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

New Zealander thought to be fighting in Syria accidentally tweets locations

A New Zealander believed to be fighting with the militia group Islamic State has been accidentally broadcasting his movements within Syria by geotagging his tweets.

Mark Taylor, also known as Abu Abdul-Rahman, apparently deleted 45 longstanding tweets earlier this week after discovering they revealed his exact coordinates.

Using some of the tweets, researcher Jeff Wyers, who runs the open-source intelligence group iBrado, was able to pinpoint Taylor’s location in early December to a specific house in al-Taqbah, a Syrian town near the Isis stronghold of al-Raqqa.

Taylor, who slipped out of New Zealand in May 2012 despite being subject to travel restrictions, surfaced in Syria in June last year.

“My current location is in Syria and my commitment is for jihad for Allah, and his Messenger,” he said in a Youtube video posted that month.

He initially told New Zealand media that he would remain in Syria until he achieved “martyrdom”, but appeared to have second thoughts by September, claiming he had realised Syria instead needed humanitarian aid and support.

Taylor proudly displayed his burnt New Zealand passport in a Facebook post in June, in which he declared his move to Syria was a “one-way trip, no going back”. He claims to have since been in touch with New Zealand’s passport office to secure a replacement, but hasn’t heard back.

He was placed on a watch list after visiting another New Zealand radical, Muslim bin John, in Yemen in 2009. John was killed by a drone strike in Yemen in November 2013 along with an Australian, Christopher Harvard.