A British Army reject who trained to fight against Islamic State has been found guilty of terror offences, in the first conviction of its kind in the country.

Aidan James, 28, was found guilty of training in weapons with the banned group the PKK in Iraq following an Old Bailey retrial.

It is the first time a Briton has been put on trial for going to Syria to oppose Islamic State.

James, from Formby in Merseyside, had no previous military knowledge when he allegedly set out to join the conflict in August 2017, and was repeatedly turned down by British armed forces due to his mental health.

Image: An image posted to Facebook by Aidan James in August 2017 of himself holding airplane tickets

He was cleared of a second charge of attending a place of terror training with Kurdish YPG units, otherwise known as People's Protection Units, in Syria.


The court heard how James was in contact with the anti-terror Prevent programme before he fled to Iraq in August 2017.

The father-of-one reportedly said he wanted to help the "PKK YPG" in their battle against Isis.

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He was arrested on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts after broadcasting his intentions on Facebook.

In his interview, James claimed he was going to Syria to help with "humanitarian aid", dismissing the suggestion he was going for terrorism as "ridiculous".

He said: "Nothing will stop me going, even if you take my passport off me I will still find a way to go."

"I cannot sit at home and watch people getting f****** butchered because it's another country."

Aidan James spoke publicly about fighting in Syria
Image: Aidan James spoke publicly about fighting in Syria

James also told the court how he was turned down by the Army, RAF, Navy and Territorial Army due to his mental health.

He said he postponed his plans, setting off for Iraq in August after his bail was cancelled and passport returned.

James wrote in his diary that sitting on a roof with a 50-calibre machine gun was something out of "Mad Max".

In December 2017, he wrote: "The situation with Turkey continues to worsen… the war is long from over but I am playing my part in this war and feel good to be a part of history and with the revolutionary force of YPG.

"Daesh (IS) is the biggest threat the world has seen since Hitler so anything I can do in these operations is good."

A Facebook post by James announcing his intention to go to Syria to fight against Islamic State
Image: A Facebook post by James announcing his intention to go to Syria to fight against Islamic State

In another handwritten entry, James said he was "waiting for Daesh to give me the opertunity (sic) to fire".

He described his group's "quest toRead More – Source