UK 'pharmacist who joined IS' caught by Kurdish forces in Syria

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Man, shown speaking in a video, says he was working in a general hospital in Islamic State-controlled territory

Miah's arrest brings the number of British citizens detained by Kurdish forces in northern Syria to four (Screengbrab)
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Sunday 23 September 2018 15:40 UTC
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A British man, claiming to be a pharmacist from Birmingham, has been detained by US-backed Kurdish forces on suspicion of being part of the Islamic State. 

The man, who says his name is Anwar Miah, was arrested inside Syria, near the Iraqi border nearly a month ago. 

Footage posted by a pro-Kurdish social media account claimed that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and a YPG patrol arrested the man. 

US-backed Kurdish forces captured Anwar Miah in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour a month ago, the BBC reported.

In the video posted on Saturday, the man spoke with a British accent and said he had lived in Syria for "just under four years".

Miah appears to be handcuffed and blindfolded in the footage, as a French foreign fighter for the SDF questions him. 

 

 

When asked whether he was a member of IS, the man responded: "The area I worked in was controlled by Daesh [IS], but I worked in the general hospital. 

"It was controlled by Daesh, and I couldn't do anything about that, but all my work was with the public." 

Miah's arrest brings the number of British citizens detained by Kurdish forces in northern Syria to four. 

Other foreign fighters held by the SDF include Londoners Alexander Kotey and Elshafee ElSheikh. Both men are accused of being members of an Islamic State torture cell.

The fate of the captured men and where they will stand trial remains unclear. Earlier this year, the British government suspended legal cooperation with the United States over concerns that Kotey and ElSheikh would face the death penalty in US courts if they were deported there. 

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid had initially signalled that the UK would not oppose the death penalty against the two former Britons, according to a leaked letter revealed by the Daily Telegraph.

In the letter to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, dated 22 June, Javid said that he believed a death penalty assurance was not needed in the case of the IS pair, and that Britain would not "formally oppose" their incarceration at Guantanamo Bay.