What You Can’t Say Anymore: ‘I Fought Against ISIS’

Aiden Aslin


A young British man was arrested in the UK after returning from Syria where he went to fight againstIslamic State, The Guardian reported.

He was held for questioning under the UK Terrorism Act for suspicion of engaging “in the preparation to fight against Daesch [ISIS]” as well as possessing “articles for terrorist purposes in Iraq/Syria.”

Aiden Aslin, 23 and a former care worker, traveled to Syria twice before in 2015 and 2016 to join the U.S.-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

The YPG, as well as other Kurdish forces, has garnered the most success to date against ISIS in Iraq. The group is not designated as a terrorist organization and no one has ever been convicted in the UK for association with the group.

When Aslin returned to the UK in 2015, he was arrested and subsequently released on bail.

When the bail was finally lifted and he was cleared of any charges, Aslin said at the time:

“No fighter should have to go through what I went through if it can be avoided. I feel vindicated. I have had nine months of being made to feel like a terrorist.

“I should never have been arrested. I should never have spent any time on bail. I should have been interviewed for any intelligence I might hold on ISIS and allowed to go free.”

Aslin also called for “a coherent national policy so that people know what they are coming back to.”

On this trip after his stint with the YPG, he traveled from Syria to Greece where he stayed for three months teaching English at a Kurdish refugee camp, fearing the same experience.

Speaking to the BBC, his grandmother said, “I am disappointed that he is being treated like this again. I know he went to Syria against the advice of the government, but he went for humanitarian reasons and has not committed any crimes.”

Aslin is one of many British fighters who have gone to Syria to help the Kurds in their fight against ISIS. Unfortunately, even when their records are cleared, there are still consequences of their arrests.

“Even if, as is most likely, they are not charged, that will remain on their record and they will not be able, for example, to enter the United States for the rest of their lives,” said Newark MP Robert Jenrick, who is fighting for Aslin.

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