Russell Dennison

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Russell Dennison
Died Syria
Nationality USA

Russell Dennison was an American who volunteered to fight for Daesh, who died during a the final bombardments that ended the Daesh's de facto state.[1][2] Dennison was a convicted felon, who first converted to Islam, then became radicalized, and volunteered to fight for the de facto extremist state Daesh.

Dennison was the subject of an 8-part podcast, from Trevor Aaronson.[2] Dennison conducted a long clandestine correspondence with Aaronson.

By late 2014 Dennison had been injured, had a limp, and that caused him to retire from front-line fighting.[2] In December 2014 Dennison visited a barracks where female foreigners who volunteered for Daesh were confined, while they waited to be given to serve as a wife to a fighter. Aaronson said Dennison wanted to marry a local Syrian woman, but those running the barracks preferred to match foreign fighters with foreign wives. After a brief interview he selected his first wife, a UK woman later revealed to be Tareena Shakil. His marriage to Shakil was brief. She was homesick, and, after a few months, she was able to defect back to the United Kingdom.

Dennison married a second time, a Syrian woman this time, and the pair had two daughters.[2] Although Dennison died in the closing days of the war, his wife and daughters survived.


  1. Trevor Aaronson (2021-07-15). "An American ISIS Fighter Describes the Caliphate’s Final Days — and His Own". The Intercept. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Trevor Aaronson (2021-11-15). "British wife of American wife of American ISIS fighter Russell Dennison dodges questions about union: In a new documentary, Tareena Shakil, whose marriage to Dennison was first revealed in an Intercept podcast, describes her journey to the Islamic State.". The Intercept. Archived from the original on 2021-12-04. Retrieved 2021-12-16. "The injury prevented him from being an effective fighter, so in 2014 he settled down in Raqqa and visited a matchmaker in a house filled with dozens of single women waiting to be married. Dennison wanted a Syrian wife, but the ISIS matchmaker preferred to arrange marriages between foreign men and foreign women. He suggested to Dennison a young British woman who’d come to Syria with her 1-year-old son."