British Army Reject Who Travelled to Syria to Fight IS Jailed for A Year for Terror Training

AFP

London: A British Army reject who travelled to Syria to fight the so-called Islamic State was on Thursday jailed for a year for attending a terror training camp.

Aidan James, 29, from Formby near Liverpool, was also given an additional three-year sentence for dealing cocaine before he left.

James stayed at an Iraqi refugee camp on his way to Syria in 2017, where he received firearms training from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a terror group banned under British law.

Video footage showed him learning to fire an AK47 at the camp at Mahkmour, while his activities were also detailed in his diary, judge Andrew Edis told the Old Bailey court in London.

James later received "much more substantial training" in Syria from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), the judge said. But he was acquitted on that front because the jury was not convinced the training was for a terrorist purpose.

The YPG at that point was training people to fight the IS group, and in some of their activities had support for Britain's Royal Air Force. "The force for which you were being trained was a defensive force against a lethal and genocidal threat from ISIS," the judge said.

In mitigation, James' lawyer argued he had health and psychiatric problems and was separating from the mother of his child when he decided to go to Syria. Andrew Hall said he had no intention of advancing the aims of the PKK and posed no continuing threat.

James had repeatedly been turned down by the British army due to his mental health. He left Britain for Iraq in August 2017 and returned home to Liverpool airport in February 2018.