JERUSALEM, Israel -- An Israeli Arab died fighting with Syrian rebel forces this week, the first such fatality to be identified in Syria's civil war.
According to Israeli media, Mueid Jumaa, 28, from a small Arab village in the Wadi Ara area had not been heard from since he left his wife and family without explanation in August.
When Jumaa's family reported him missing, authorities suspected he may have left to join one of the Syrian rebel groups fighting the Assad regime.
Authorities believe he may have rendezvoused with two other men from the area who went missing about the same time.
Jumaa's family confirmed his identity from a photo posted on Facebook Tuesday, responding that he'd died a martyr's death fighting Bashar al-Assad and his regime.
A recent study by the British defense and intelligence analysis agency IHS Janes revealed that more than half of the Syrian rebel forces are hardline Islamists whose goal, like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, is to establish an Islamic caliphate.