Former British soldier charged with terror offences for ‘trying to join Kurdish fighters in Syria’

Daniel Burke told police he was not a terrorist and that his arrest was a ‘f***ing joke’

Lizzie Dearden
Security Correspondent
Saturday 21 December 2019 23:47
He is accused of attempting to travel back to Syria when Turkey invaded following US withdrawal from Kurdish-held territories
He is accused of attempting to travel back to Syria when Turkey invaded following US withdrawal from Kurdish-held territories

A former British Army soldier has been charged with terror offences for allegedly planning to join Kurdish fighters in Syria.

Daniel Burke originally fought with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) between late 2017 and June 2018.

A court heard the 32-year-old was investigated by counterterror police when he returned to the UK, but no action was taken against him.

But Mr Burke was arrested on 7 December in Dover and accused of attempting to travel back to Syria, and helping another person make the journey to Iraq via Spain.

He is also accused of another terror offence for allegedly supporting former comrades in the YPG with money and equipment through platforms including PayPal.

A hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday was told he decided to return to Syria after Donald Trump pulled American troops out Kurdish-controlled areas that had been retaken from Isis.

The withdrawal was swiftly followed by Turkish invasion.

Mr Burke, of Baguley in Wythenshawe, Manchester, served in the elite Parachute Regiment between 2007 and 2009.

Upon his arrest, he told police: “I’m not a terrorist, you know I’m not a terrorist. I’ve done nothing but fight for this country. This is a f***ing joke.”

Mr Burke is charged with two counts of preparing acts of terrorism, in relation to the travel plans, and one count of funding terrorism.

Judge Tan Ikram remanded him in custody ahead of a hearing at Liverpool Crown Court on 17 January.

Additional reporting by PA