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Freedom fighter says he is living in exile

Aiden Aslin
Aiden Aslin

A freedom fighter who was on the frontline against ISIS in Syria says he fears he will never be able to return to the UK without being arrested.

Aiden Aslin, 23, of Newark, is now doing humanitarian work in Greece.

He said he was unlikely to return because of attempts to arrest and question him about his time in Syria and Iraq.

Aiden left the UK in January to join the battle to take Raqqa from ISIS.

He left shortly after his passport was returned to him by Nottinghamshire Police.

Aiden, a former care worker, was arrested on a plane at Heathrow Airport in February 2016 and remained on police bail until October during an investigation into what he had been doing in Syria and Iraq.

His bail conditions meant he had to report to Newark Police Station three times a week and could not travel abroad. No charges were brought.

The last military operation he was involved in since rejoining Kurdish forces this year was the battle for Tabqa, where he told the Advertiser there was little fighting, but there was a constant threat from car bombs.

He left for Greece last month, where he was visited by his mother.

He planned to fly home with her but changed his mind.

He said armed police had boarded the flight as it touched down in Manchester from Athens on July 16 to arrest him again.

'I'm done with Britain's treatment towards us'

“I did my seven months (in Syria) and was just exhausted,” said Aiden.

“So I came to Greece to do humanitarian work at a refugee camp for Kurds to help teach them English so they have a smoother time going though Europe and can better report exploitation and sexual harassment, missing family members and things like that.

“I’m probably going to live in Greece.

“I’m done with Britain’s treatment towards us when I was in Rojava (the Kurdish name for the region in which he was based).

“I had met members of the US 82nd Airborne Division just outside the town of Jezra during the operation to take it and, for a few days, got to know them by joking around the fire and socialising.”

Aiden said he had earned their respect and that of British Special Forces operating in the area, who had offered to provide intelligence.

“Over there we are allies, but when we return we are treated as the enemy,” he said.

Case remains under investigation

Aiden first joined the fight against ISIS after being sickened by its barbarism and abuse of Kurdish people.

The Home Office leaves it to individual police forces to decide what to do when non-military personnel return from war.

A spokesman for Nottinghamshire Police said although Aiden had been released from his bail his case remained under investigation.

“The matter currently rests with the Crown Prosecution Service and remains under investigation,” said the spokesman.

“We are currently awaiting further advice.”

The UK is on heightened terror alert after the London and Manchester terror attacks.


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