08:58 GMT +315 November 2018
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    UK Blocks Repatriation of 'Jihadi' Doctor Detained in Syria - Reports

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    The 40-year-old dual citizen of the UK and Pakistan, who was working at a Cornwall hospital before he left for Syria two years ago, is suspected of fighting for terrorists despite him claiming that he was simply helping the population in areas under Daesh control.

    The British government is refusing to take back the NHS doctor, who is being held in captivity in Syria by Kurdish fighters on suspicion of ties to Daesh*, The Daily Telegraph reports.

    The captive, identified by the newspaper as Muhammad Saqib Raza, 40, was detained four months ago by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-led militia, as he was trying to flee Syria.

    Although he claims that he wasn't part Daesh but worked as a medic in areas controlled by them, he was accused of trying to "radicalize" colleagues before he travelled to Syria in 2016.

    READ MORE: Daesh Militants' Families Want Repatriation of 16 Canadians From Syria – Reports

    Raza, who was born in Pakistan, is said to have double British-Pakistani citizenship. His last known address was in Leicester, and neighbors claim that he had become increasingly religious prior to his departure to Syria.

    "He would pray several times a day and before he left he began to grow his beard longer and longer. He said he didn't like living in the West," his neighbor told The Telegraph. "He seemed to have something of an issue about it. When he got angry he would talk going to Kuwait or Qatar."

    Colleagues at the hospital he was working at cited rumors that Raza went to Syria to fight for Daesh. "A doctor who worked closely with Raza told me that he was fighting in Syria. He said he'd joined the jihadists and was fighting for ISIL (Daesh)," said an unnamed member of staff at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust.

    The Syrian Democratic Forces are mainly active on the eastern side of the Euphrates River, fighting the remnants of Daesh, which has reportedly been driven from all urban strongholds both in Iraq and Syria. However, the Syrian government nominally considers these SDF forces illegitimate militants acting without the consent of the central government.

    The SDF has detained over 500 Daesh mercenaries while ousting the terror group from swathes of Syria's north. The Kurds have indicated that they didn't have the resources to hold them in captivity and pushed foreign governments for their repatriation.

    This year, London has also tried to return two "celebrity" detainees, Alexanda Amon Kotey and Al Shafee Al Sheikh, who are suspected members of the notorious Daesh cell dubbed "The Beatles." They were arrested in Syria in January and have remained detained there ever since; the British government stripped them of their citizenship. However, in July, the Home Office postponed their extradition amid reports that they would possibly face the death penalty in the United States.

    *Daesh (aka ISIS/Islamic State) is a terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries

    Related:

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    Daesh Kills 60 SDF Militants in Surprise Attack East of Euphrates River
    Russia's FSB Says Stopped Activity of Six Members of Daesh Cell in Moscow Region
    Daesh Militants' Families Want Repatriation of 16 Canadians From Syria – Reports
    FBI Warns of New Mail Bombs Amid Reports Daesh-Linked Sites Used to Make Devices
    Tags:
    fighter, doctor, repatriation, Daesh, Muhaamad Saqib Raza, Syria, United Kingdom
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