Son of Cambridge father who joined Kurds kept in Syria

Image copyright AP Image caption The 44-year-old from Cambridge was arrested in Turkey in September and sentenced to three years in prison

The father of a Cambridge father who was jailed in Syria has spoken of his pain at being separated from his son while he is detained on suspicion of aiding Kurdish rebels.

Mauro Iacobucci said he had no idea what happened to his son Moniro, 44, whom he has not seen since he was detained in a Syrian prison in September.

Moniro, an engineer, denies the allegations that he was a sniper, and instead maintains he was merely a messenger for the British-based Syrian Democratic Forces.

“He was detained by the YPG, not the ISIL [Islamic State] gunmen,” his father said.

“[He’s] innocent, according to the lawyers. I’m absolutely confident that he’s innocent.”

‘No evidence’

The former P&O shipyards worker said the Kurdish fighters who arrested his son told him they had no evidence the alleged spy was in custody and that they simply could not release him.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The father of the Cambridge father said the Kurdish fighters who arrested his son told him they had no evidence

It is believed Mr Iacobucci paid for his son’s ticket and accommodation to bring him to Syria from Sweden where he was living in exile.

His son has not been charged and continues to be held in the city of Qamishli in northeastern Syria as he awaits his trial.

“They’re saying they can’t do anything about it,” said the distraught 68-year-old.

“They told me: ‘Don’t worry about him, he’s all right, we can’t do anything’.

“I think they’re trying to use it as a bargaining chip with the Europeans,” he added.

They’ve branded him a YPG man, they’ve made him wear this,” he said as he held up a handwritten sheet of paper which read “Farewell friend, who made a big mistake, the YPG also, whom you told to your parents that you were with”.

“My impression is that he wasn’t involved with the ISIS [Islamic State]. He might have had an enemy or was in a wrong place at the wrong time – but I don’t think he would ever have gone on a mission with the YPG.”

‘No excuse’

Allegations against Moniro Iacobucci surfaced as French prosecutors have been ordered to question a Belgian man who made similar allegations against Syrians allegedly recruited to the jihadist group.

Allegations against Moniro Iacobucci surfaced as French prosecutors have been ordered to question a Belgian man who made similar allegations against Syrians allegedly recruited to the jihadist group.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Mr Iacobucci said.

“I don’t see why an innocent man couldn’t walk about free. He has no excuse.”

Speaking in Spanish, he said one could “not believe it” that his son had been arrested and could not understand why the authorities were taking the matter so seriously.

“I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t believe it at first,” he said, before adding that his knowledge of Syrian politics was limited.

“They told me that Moniro was involved with ISIL – in fact it’s the other way around,” he said.

Image copyright AFP Image caption French prosecutors are also investigating claims a Belgian man recruited hundreds of Western-born jihadists to join jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq.

Meanwhile, French prosecutors are also investigating claims a Belgian man recruited hundreds of Western-born jihadists to join jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq.

French prosecutors are also investigating a number of asylum seekers who allegedly tried to join the Kurdish YPG in Syria.

The Syrians deny any ties to terrorism or charged with fighting for the Islamic State group, a charge which they say is bogus.

The FBI and France’s National Intelligence Service, known as DCRI, have been responsible for some of the surveillance.

Moniro’s father said his son had no known connections to extremist groups.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The Syrian Democratic Forces are made up of various Kurdish factions, including the YPG and PYD.

“Nobody knows what happened [to him]. He’s his own person, like everyone else.

“We don’t know what’s going on at the moment.”

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