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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 October 2018

Turkey jails British ex-soldier fighting with Kurdish YPG for 'terror' links

Joe Robinson was holidaying in Turkey when he was arrested over online photos of him with Kurdish fighters in Syria

Former British soldier Joe Robinson was sentenced to 7 years in jail by a Turkish court, Joe Robinson/Facebook
Former British soldier Joe Robinson was sentenced to 7 years in jail by a Turkish court, Joe Robinson/Facebook

A Turkish court has sentenced a former British soldier to seven-and-a-half years in jail for links to a Kurdish militia that Ankara considers a terrorist group.

Joe Robinson was arrested in July 2017 while holidaying in Turkey after he posted photos of himself in camouflage and posing next to fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.

A court in the western city of Aydin sentenced him for "membership of a terrorist organisation," the private DHA news agency said.

The YPG is an ally of the United States in the fight against ISIS in Syria. But Ankara is hostile to the YPG because of its links with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is fighting for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: "We have been following this case very closely and have raised it with the Turkish authorities. We stand ready to provide further consular assistance."

Mr Robinson did not attend the trial for health reasons, DHA said. He is currently on bail and planning an appeal.

His Bulgarian fiancee, arrested along with him, was also given a two and a half year suspended sentenced for "terrorist propaganda," but she is currently in Britain where she is a law student at the University of Leeds, the BBC reported.

According to British press reports, the 25-year-old Robinson is a former soldier who served in Afghanistan in 2012 and went to Syria in 2015 for five months to work in the YPG's health unit.

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