Ex-UK minister’s nephew arrested for joining YPG in Syria

Photo: Delil Souleiman /AFP

The great nephew of a former British minister has been arrested on his return to the UK from Syria for his alleged involvement with the PKK-affiliated YPG, British media outlets reported on Wednesday.

Jamie Janson, 42, the great nephew of former war minister John Profumo, reportedly joined the group after travelling to Syria and has taken part in activities against the Turkish army in northwestern enclave of Afrin, where Turkey is carrying out a border security mission called Operation Olive Branch.

The PKK is considered by Turkey, the US and the EU to be a terrorist organisation. The PKK has been proscribed as a terrorist organisation in the UK since 2001, but the YPG is not on the list of banned organisations.

The PKK has waged an armed campaign against Turkey, Britain’s NATO ally, for more than 30 years that has led to the deaths of more than 40,000 people.

“A man arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences as part of an investigation by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command has been released under investigation,” British police were quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph.

Janson was arrested in Folkestone, Kent on Tuesday after travelling by coach from France, having transited through northern Iraq and Belgium.

He was held under section 5 of the Terrorism Act by officers from Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command before being released on bail pending further inquiries, the report said.

Janson told The Telegraph that the other Westerners, who allegedly volunteered to fight with the YPG against Daesh, were smuggled out of Afrin into regime-held areas in late March after the city fell to Turkish and Free Syrian Army forces.

Janson’s grandparents were Harold Harington Balfour, 1st Baron Balfour of Inchrye, and Mary Ainslie Profumo, sister of John Profumo, the Conservative minister who was disgraced after an affair with a call girl.

Two British citizens, Jim Matthews and Aidan James, appeared in court last month, with Matthews being tried over terror-related offences and James charged with terror offences. Both were involved with the YPG, and their cases will continue later this year.

The British authorities have said their citizens who joined armed groups in Syria could be questioned under anti-terrorism laws upon their return to the UK.

The Henry Jackson Society, a London-based think tank, suggested in a report in August that the YPG should be proscribed as a terror organisation in the UK after profiling 60 foreigners who joined the group from 12 different countries.

The report, “The Forgotten Foreign Fighters: The PKK in Syria,” laid bare the ties between the YPG and the PKK.

It urged the UK government to distance itself from the PYD, the political wing of the YPG, as it could potentially cause a crisis within Turkey.

It recommended the UK government “consider updating the Foreign Enlistment Act to prevent Britons from joining non-state actors engaged in conflict abroad.”

Those who returned from the PYD “should be screened to assess if they require any further state attention, either from the criminal justice system or social services.” the report said.

Source: AA / www.trtworld.com

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