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UK: Man who joined PYD/PKK faces trial for terrorism

UK: Man who joined PYD/PKK faces trial for terrorism
UK says former British soldier to be first to face terrorism charges for joining PYD/PKK, group Turkey is fighting in Syria

By Tayfun Salci

LONDON (AA) – A British man who joined the PYD/PKK -- a terrorist group Turkey is now fighting in Syria -- will be prosecuted under Britain’s anti-terrorism law, the U.K. police said on Wednesday.

Scotland Yard said that former soldier Jim Matthews will be tried on charges of terrorism.

Police said that Matthews is to be “formally charged with attending a place or places in Iraq and Syria where instruction or training was provided for purposes connected to the commission or preparation of terrorism.”

The British national is due to appear in court on Feb. 14.

Matthews had appeared on a TV documentary called “The Brits battling ISIS,” using another name for Daesh.

Although the U.K. has listed the PKK as a terrorist organization since 2001, the PYD/PKK -- its Syrian off-shoot -- is not on the list.

In its 30-year terrorist campaign against Turkey, the PKK has taken some 40,000 lives .

The Turkish-led Operation Olive Branch is meant to snuff out the threat to Turkey of the terrorist PYD/PKK from across the Syrian border.

Despite the PYD/PKK’s absence from the list of terrorist groups, British authorities warned that when they return to the country, people who participate in armed groups in Syria could be prosecuted under anti-terror law.

Matthews will be first British person to join the PYD/PKK under the pretext of fighting Daesh to be later tried under anti-terror law.


-‘PYD/YPG should be added to terror group list’

Separately, London-based think tank the Henry Jackson Society published a report last August titled “The Forgotten Fighters: The PKK in Syria”.

Detailing the close ties between the PKK and PYD/YPG/PKK, it also reported on foreigners joining the terrorist group.

The report profiled 60 foreign fighters from 12 countries, saying that around 80 percent of them come from English-speaking countries.

The report recommended that the U.K. government take measures to prevent Britons from joining the terror group, adding that those who do join should be followed closely.

The report warned that Britons who join the terrorist group could lead to a diplomatic crisis with Turkey, a NATO ally, urging British authorities to distance themselves from the group.

The report also recommended that the YPG -- the PYD’s armed wing -- should be added to Britain’s list of alternate names of the banned PKK, so the anti-terror law could be applied to activities under this name.


* Ahmet Gurhan Kartal contributed to this report.

source: News Feed
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