Aidan James: British man from Merseyside travelled to fight Isis in 'amateurish way', court hears

27-year-old had no military experience, weapons training or link to Middle East before he allegedly flew out to join conflict

Colin Drury
Tuesday 02 April 2019 13:19
Aidan James
Aidan James

A British man fuelled the violence and devastation which has engulfed Syria by travelling to fight against Isis, a court has heard.

Aidan James, from Formby, Merseyside, had no previous military experience or weapons knowledge when he allegedly set out to join the bloody war in August 2017.

The 27-year-old, who linked up with Kurdish fighters, prepared himself in an "amateurish way" and had just two months training in Iraq before crossing the border into Syria, the Old Bailey heard.

He denies engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts and two charges of attending a place used for terrorist training.

Mark Heywood QC, prosecuting, said the ongoing civil war in Syria had been fuelled by the involvement of foreign combatants on all sides who had no prior link to the land or its people.

He said: “[Mr James] went as an individual to Syria to fight with guns and explosives."

And he added: “The prosecution case against this defendant is that, as a citizen and resident of this country who did not know and had never been to Iraq or Syria before and who had no prior military knowledge or experience whatever and no official sanction at all, he went there for four months to fight. He picked one particular cause and he joined in.

"At the time, and since, he claimed that his aim was to combat Islamic State.

“In reality, it was not just that, there was much more to it. He had picked his cause and it was the cause of just one of the many groups of people that inhabit that part of the world and would like it to be their own, the Kurdish people.”

Mr Heywood added that, while in the Middle East, James associated himself with the PKK or Kurdistan Workers' Party – a militant group which British citizens are banned from joining because of its use of arms and violence to advocate for a Kurdish state.

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He was arrested on his return to the UK at Liverpool Airport on 14 February.

The trial continues.

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