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‘Jihadi Jack’ charged with being IS member, Kurdish officials say

- 1509200423 8 Jack Letts - ‘Jihadi Jack’ charged with being IS member, Kurdish officials say


A 21-year-old man has been charged with being a member of so-called  Islamic State, officials from the Kurdish region of Syria have said. 

Jack Letts, also known as “Jihadi Jack”, is originally from Oxford and travelled to Syria in 2014.

He was later captured by the Kurdish-led YPG, a group fighting IS, when he left IS territory. 

Officials confirmed he was captured in May 2017 but Mr Letts said he is opposed to IS. 

In a statement given to the BBC, the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (DFNS) said Mr Letts had been taken to a prison in Qamishi, Rojava.

The self-declared autonomous region of Syria said the case was still under investigation by the local police force, the Asayiah. 

This is also the first time Kurdish forces have confirmed the capture of Mr Letts as a prisoner of war. 

Mr Letts converted to Islam while still at school in Oxford and at 18 dropped out of his A-Levels to travel to Jordan in 2014. 

By the autumn of that year he was in IS-controlled territory in Syria. He then married in Iraq and now has a child. 

John Letts and Sally Lane arrive at the Old Bailey for a preliminary hearing, where they are accused of sending hundreds of pounds to their 20-year-old (PA)

His parents have denied he went to Syria to fight with IS and have started a petition which claims he is being held in a “Guantanamo-style black site” in Kurdish-controlled territory. 

But the DFNS European representative, Sinam Mohamad, denied this. 

Ms Mohamad’s statement said: “The Democratic Federation of Northern Syria’s policy with regard to prisoners of war is clear and fair.

”ISIS brought inexplicable levels of terror on the peoples of Northern Syria/Rojava…

“Despite this fact, the DFNS is not less committed than European countries to treating the fighters from this terror group according to international human rights standards.”

On the petition page it states that John Letts and Sally Lane have not heard from their son since July and do not have confirmation that he is alive. 

They have said the British government has not done enough to help their son. 

The DFNS statement however also stated that Kurdish officials were willing to hand over prisoners of war to their original country after being properly investigated. 

It states that once the investigation is concluded “the outcome will be communicated to Jack’s parents”.

Mr Letts also has a Canadian passport and the statement goes on to suggest his parents should request the Canadian and British governments to officially request the handover of the 21-year-old.

John Letts and Sally Lane have pleaded not guilty to charges of funding terrorism after being accused of sending cash to their son.

Their solicitor has said they have declined to comment.

The Foreign Office said: “The government is unable to provide support to British nationals in Syria as the UK government does not have consular representation there.”

Independent

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Middle East

15 Civilians Killed, Injured in Turkish Strikes on Afrin: Official

- e7523a3c68ddf4be6a508bd1ab873f3e L - 15 Civilians Killed, Injured in Turkish Strikes on Afrin: Official


ERBIL — At least two civilians were killed and 13 others were wounded on Sunday as a result of the Turkish military assault on Afrin, northwest of Syria, a local official said.

Osama Sheikh Issa, co-chair of Afrin local administration told Kurdistan24 that what Turkey is trying to achieve is having revenge on the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) fighter’s victory against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

“All of the casualties of the Turkish attacks were civil people who had nothing to do with the war” he pointed out.

Issa also asserted that the residents of Afrin are confidently staying in their city, but the displaced Syrian people who had found refuge in Afrin are in danger because of the Turkish assault on the city.

He further ensured that “none of the YPG and YPJ units have been targeted by the Turkish strikes, in deed all the attacks have been aimed at the homes of civilians in Afrin”.

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Middle East

Iran Calls on Turkey to Halt Afrin Operation

- 6cce60afe0e9652295227731138f696c L - Iran Calls on Turkey to Halt Afrin Operation


ERBIL — The Islamic Republic of Iran has called on Turkey to halt the Afrin operation and respect Syria’s territorial integrity, said a spokesperson for Iranian Foreign Ministry.

According to Mehr News Agency, Bahram Ghasemi said that Iran is closely and concernedly following the current developments in the city of Afrin.

“Iran hopes that the operation will immediately come to an end to stop the deepening of the crisis in the border areas of Turkey and Syria” he added. 

“The continuation of the crisis in Afrin may further strengthen the takfirist-terrorist groups in the northern Syrian regions, and flare up the fires of war ” warned the Iranian foreign ministry.

Qasemi also drew attention to the Astana peace talks and stated that all countries, especially Turkey, are expected to remain committed to the political solution, especially Astana peace process, for the Syrian crisis and continue observing their commitments and playing their constructive role in the resolution of the crisis.

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Middle East

[Watch]: YPG Destroys Turkish Tank near Afrin

- a515aef23f394e0974fa089da5993b99 L - [Watch]: YPG Destroys Turkish Tank near Afrin


ERBIL — The US-backed Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) released a footage on Sunday which shows them destroying a Turkish tank near the border city of Afrin.

The YPG fighters appear in the video destroying a Turkish tank with an anti-tank missile.

Turkey on Saturday launched a new air and ground operation on Afrin, a Kurdish city in the northwest of Syria, dubbed as the “Olive Branch Operation”.

The assault has so far left dozens killed and injured, including civilians and fighters from the both sides.

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