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  1. ITV Report

Former Leeds soldier jailed in Turkey skips bail and returns to the UK

A former soldier from Leeds sentenced to jail in Turkey after fighting so-called Islamic State terror group has skipped bail and returned to Britain.

Credit: ITV News

Joe Robinson was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison after being accused of fighting alongside the People's Protection Units of Syrian Kurdistan (YPG) - which the Turkish state considers a terrorist organisation.

The 25-year-old was arrested during a family holiday to Turkey with his fiancee Mira Rojkan last year, and spent four months in prison before he was convicted.

He had been on bail in Kusadasi awaiting an appeal, but has now told the BBC he has returned to Britain secretly, without the permission of the courts, and said he did so because he had to take the matter into his own hands.

It is understood the British Government did not help Robinson return to the UK.

The YPG is not banned in the UK and Robinson, from Accrington, Lancashire, said he only spent a month with them in Syria while providing medical support to civilians.

Turkey considers the YPG to be a terror organisation because of its links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party which is fighting for autonomy for the region.

But Robinson was unaware of their ideology when he spent a month in Syria with them in July 2015 during which he did not see conflict, his fiancee has previously said.

She said it was in the following three months in Iraq that he fought IS with the Peshmerga, the Iraqi Kurdish military.