The great nephew of a former British minister has been arrested on his return to the UK from Syria for his alleged involvement with the PKK/PYD terrorist organization, British media outlets reported Wednesday.
Jamie Janson, 42, the great nephew of former war minister John Profumo, reportedly joined the terrorist group after traveling to Syria and taking part in activities against the Turkish army during Operation Olive Branch in Afrin.
“A man arrested on suspicion of terrorism offenses as part of an investigation by the Met's Counter Terrorism Command has been released under investigation,” British police were quoted as saying by The Telegraph.
Janson was arrested in Folkestone, Kent on Tuesday after travelling by coach from France, where he came via northern Iraq and Belgium.
He was held under section 5 of the Terrorism Act by officers from Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command before being released on bail pending further inquiries, the report said.
Janson told The Telegraph that he other Westerners, who allegedly volunteered to fight with the YPG terrorist group against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, were smuggled out of Afrin into government-held areas in late March after the city fell to Turkish and Free Syrian Army forces.
Janson’s grandparents were Harold Harington Balfour, 1st Baron Balfour of Inchrye, and Mary Ainslie Profumo, sister of John Profumo, the Conservative minister who was disgraced after an affair with a call girl.
Two British citizens, Jim Matthews and Aidan James, appeared in court last month, with Matthews being tried over terror-related offences and James charged with terror offences. Both were involved with the PKK/YPG terror group, and their cases will continue later this year.
The PKK has been proscribed as a terrorist organization in the UK since 2001, but the YPG is not on the list of banned organizations.
The British authorities have said their citizens who joined armed groups in Syria could be questioned under anti-terrorism laws upon their return to the UK.
The Henry Jackson Society, a London-based think tank, suggested in a report in August that the YPG should be proscribed in the UK after profiling 60 foreigners who joined the terrorist organization from 12 different countries.
The report, “The Forgotten Foreign Fighters: The PKK in Syria”, laid bare the ties between the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization in the EU and U.S. as well as Turkey, and the PKK/PYD in Syria.
It urged the UK government to distance itself from the PKK/PYD, as it could potentially cause a crisis within Turkey — a fellow NATO member.
It recommended the UK government “consider updating the Foreign Enlistment Act to prevent Britons from joining non-state actors engaged in conflict abroad”.
Those who returned from the PKK/PYD “should be screened to assess if they require any further state attention, either from the criminal justice system or social services,” the report said.
The PKK has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years that has led to the deaths of more than 40,000 people.