A Newark man has returned to Syria and is poised to join the fight for the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa.
Aiden Aslin, 23, has rejoined Kurdish forces following the cancellation of police bail that saw him surrender his passport to prevent foreign travel.
Speaking from Syria, Aiden told the Advertiser he could not abandon the Kurdish people and wanted to do whatever he could to help defeat ISIS, or Daesh.
He has joined a medical unit attached to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, the YPG, and, once trained, would be deployed to Raqqa.
“Hopefully this year will be the end of Daesh,” Aiden said.
“I want to see Rojava (the Kurdish region of Syria) as a key player in bringing peace to the negotiating table.”
Aiden exclusively told the Advertiser in October of his relief that he wouldn't face terrorism charges following his first spell fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
He was arrested at Heathrow Airport in February last year as his flight home landed and was on police bail until October, while an investigation took place into what he had been doing. No charges were brought.
To avoid potentially being arrested again on his return to the UK, Aiden said he had the offer of a job and home in Sweden.
Aiden’s grandmother, Pam Hall, said the family were unaware he was going back to Syria until he let them know he was there.
She said he loved the Kurdish people and wanted to protect people from ISIS.
'His life is at risk'
Just before Christmas, British citizen Ryan Lock, 20, died in the effort to retake Raqqa.
“I can’t say that I am happy Aiden is back out there because his life is at risk,” said Pam.
“No parent or grandparent wants their child or grandchild at such a risk, knowing what ISIS is capable of. We are trying not to think about it.
“He has gone back to fight on the side of a people that aren’t his own because he believes in the cause of defeating ISIS at source.”
Pam said although she was proud of Aiden, she would not want anyone to follow his example.
“There are other ways to get involved for the Kurds such as writing to your MP or fundraising for refugees now living in the UK,” she said.
The MP for Newark, Mr Robert Jenrick, said: “I have met Aiden on a number of occasions since he returned from his first tour in Syria and Iraq and it seemed that he had put a great deal of thought into going out there in the first place.
“It was clear he felt strongly about the hardships of the people out there and the atrocities being committed, and that by placing himself in danger he could in some small way influence the fight against Daesh.
“While Aiden’s is an act of bravery done for sincere reasons, he is placing himself in serious danger and I wouldn’t encourage anyone to follow that example.”
The Foreign Office has advised against travel to Syria for all British nationals.