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Radical Muslim student posed with guns 'to look cool'

David Souaan Credit: PA Wire

A radical Muslim student convicted of planning to join rebel forces in Syria posed for pictures with guns because he wanted to look "cool", he told a court.

Birkbeck College student David Souaan was arrested after fellow students raised concerns about the pictures and his radical views on Islam, his trial at the Old Bailey heard.

The 20-year-old, who comes from a wealthy family in Serbia, had denied the charges against him and claimed he had visited Syria to collect his grandfather's belongings.

He said he had posed for pictures with guns because he wanted to look "cool".

"At the time when I was there I felt something like I wanted some trophy - the photos. As the teenagers say nowadays, it looks 'cool'. So that was the reason," he said during his trial.

But a jury at the Old Bailey dismissed his claims, taking just nine hours to find him guilty.

Following his conviction, Judge Peter Rook told Souaan he is facing a jail term when he returns to the court in February for sentencing.

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Video on student's phone 'too graphic' to be played in court

A video clip found on a phone belonging to a radical Muslim student convicted of planning to join rebel fighters in Syria was "so graphic and shocking" it could not be played in court.

During David Souann's trial, Prosecutor Sarah Whitehouse QC told the Old Bailey the clip on his phone featured a young-looking man kneeling with his head held back as another man cut his throat.

Documents were also found on the 20-year-old's laptop which revealed his "extremist sympathies" and that he had not only been fighting in Syria before but was intending to return.

Remanding Souaan in custody at the Old Bailey today until sentencing on February 3, Judge Peter Rook told him: "You have been convicted of a very serious offence indeed. You must understand that you will be receiving a custodial sentence in this case."

Radical student guilty of planning to join Syrian rebels

David Souaan, 20, has been found guilty of planning to join rebel fighters in Syria. Credit: Crown Prosecution Service/PA Wire

A radical Muslim student who aspired to fly the Islamic State over Downing Street, has been found guilty at the Old Bailey of planning to join rebel fighters in Syria.

David Souaan, 20, was accused of preparing for terrorist act in the country around the time he was stopped at Heathrow Airport in May.

The prosecution claimed he was returning to fight the jihadist cause after visiting for the same reason in December last year.

Souaan pictured brandishing weapons. Credit: Crown Prosecution Service/PA Wire

However, Souaan denied the allegations, saying his previous visit was to collect belongings of his grandfather.

Family feel 'shocked' and 'betrayed' at 12-year terror jailing

The family of one of two men from Birmingham who have been jailed for more than 12 years for joining a Syria terror group have said they are in "complete shock" at his sentence and feel "betrayed" by the police.

Mohammed Ahmed's brother said the family would be appealing his sentence, which consists of 12 years eight months in prison and a further five years on licence.

Our reaction to the sentence was complete shock. We are confused, angry and bewildered.

We have no idea why he got 12 years when similar cases have got four years. I can't get my head around what the judge is thinking.

My brother saw people getting slaughtered and he wants to deal with that. He made a mistake and now has a life sentence.

We co-operated fully with the police. We feel betrayed. Why would any other family come forward now?

– Mohammed Ahmed's brother, speaking on behalf of the family

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Childhood friends were 'on course to commit terror acts'

Mohammed Nahin Ahmed and Yusuf Sarwar. Credit: West Midlands Police

A judge sentencing two friends from Birmingham to 12 years and eight months in prison for travelling to Syria to join a terror organisation has said the pair were set to commit acts of terrorism.

Speaking at Woolwich Crown Court today, Judge Michael Topolski QC described the pair as "fundementalists who became interested in and deeply committed to extremism"

He told Yusuf Sarwar, a part-time student, and unemployed Mohammed Nahin Ahmed, they had taken "determined steps to prepare and travel to Syria to seek out and engage in armed combat

They willingly, enthusiastically and with a great deal of purpose, persistence and determination embarked on a course intended to commit acts of terrorism.

– Judge Michael Topolski QC

Pair jailed for 12 years for joining Syria terror group

Mohammed Nahin Ahmed (left) and Yusuf Zubair Sarwar. Credit: PA/West Midlands Police

Childhood friends Mohammed Ahmed and Yusuf Sarwar, both 22, from Birmingham, have been given extended sentences of 17 years and eight months at Woolwich Crown Court for travelling to Syria to join an al Qaida-linked terrorist group.

The sentences consist of twelve years eight months in prison and a further five years on licence.

The two pleaded guilty last July to travelling to Syria to join up with an extremist fighting group.

They had spent eight months out of the country after telling their families they were going on a holiday to Turkey.

Officers from the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit arrested the men when they came back to the UK in January.

Syrian runners race through the ruins of Aleppo

A participant runs past a damaged building as he competes in a running race along a street in Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr Credit: Reuters/Mahmoud Hebbo

The battle-scarred streets of Aleppo were the extraordinary backdrop to a running race in Syria yesterday.

Several runners took part in the race across the rebel-held parts of the war-torn Syrian city.

Some reports suggest the race was in honour of the "Martyrs of the River" - a group of Syrians who were murdered and dumped in the river by forces loyal to President Assad last year.

Credit: Reuters/Mahmoud Hebbo

Aleppo is Syria's largest city and has been ravaged by over two years of fighting during the bloody civil war.

The race took place on 2nd December and the winner, Ahmad Sobhe, was presented with a trophy when he crossed the finished line.

Ahmad Sobhe holds up a trophy as he celebrates winning a running race in Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr neighbourhood, a rebel-controlled area. Credit: Reuters/Mahmoud Hebbo
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