16:43 GMT30 October 2020
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    The trial of a 19-year-old Syrian ‘refugee’ accused of aiding Daesh by scouting targets for terror attacks in Germany began on Wednesday.

    The Syrian man, who shielded his face from reporters in a special security courtroom, has been identified only as Shaas Al M., and is accused of fighting for Daesh for a period of two years prior to migrating to Germany, where he applied for asylum in August 2015.

    Officers carrying machine guns were stationed outside the courthouse.

    Prosecutors allege that the man conducted surveillance and observed landmarks including Alexanderplatz square, the Reichstag parliament building, and the Brandenburg Gate, from shortly after his arrival until February 2016. It is believed that he relayed his findings to the terrorist organization.

    He is also alleged to have been involved in Daesh operations in Syria, including as a participant in the siege of the Deir al-Zour airport. He is also accused of providing food for the terrorist fighters and handling a Kalashnikov gun.

    Additionally, a court statement says that he is charged for arranging at least one person’s travel to Syria to fight with Daesh, and offering assistance to extremist fighters traveling to Germany.

    "The suspect is accused of membership of a terrorist organization abroad and of violating the War Weapons Control Act," court spokeswoman Lisa Jani told Reuters.

    The trial begins on the heels of a devastating December 2016 terrorist attack on a Christmas market in Berlin, in which 12 people were killed and an additional 48 injured. The attack led to fierce criticism of Chancellor Angela Merkel for her controversial open-door migration policy, and loud calls for reform.

    Daesh released a video of the Berlin truck-driver terrorist pledging his allegiance to their leader, Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi.

    In Germany, defendants under 21 years of age are sentenced as minors, including the Syrian man.

    There are 25 hearing sessions scheduled for the case, from January through April. The suspect has been in custody since his March 22, 2015, arrest.

    If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.


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