Peshmerga volunteer ‘harassed’ by Scottish police after returning home

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Scottish volunteer Alan Duncan (R) gives present to Peshmerga General Bahram Arif in Bashiqa on 16 November. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

Erbil – Alan Duncan was a foreign volunteer in the Kurdish Peshmerga. Last Sunday, he returned to his home in Scotland, having fought against the Islamic State (ISIS) for more than two years. He is now the subject of a very intrusive police investigation which borders on harassment.

The Kurdish Peshmerga concluded their anti-ISIS operations in mid–November, after capturing Bashiqa District. Most of the Kurdistan Region has been secured, with the exception of a few towns and villages near Sinjar and Hawija.

Alan Duncan served in the 7th Soran Infantry Brigade, led by General Bahram Arif. He was commended by his fellow soldiers for his loyalty and bravery.

“So after two years in Kurdistan with the Kurdish Peshmerga and various trips out of the UK, the Scottish police stopped me, questioned me and held me,” Duncan told ARA News. “[They] still have all my luggage under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act.”

The Scottish police demanded to know whether Duncan has shot at any ISIS fighters during his tour. “The way the Scottish police questioned me, asking if I had fired on anyone, tells you exactly who they are concerned about: Daesh terrorists,” he said, employing an Arabic acronym for ISIS.

The Kurdish Peshmerga are backed by a US-led coalition, which included the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom has also armed the Kurdistan Regional Government, which has proven to be a reliable ally in the campaign to degrade and defeat ISIS.

Duncan was understandably exasperated, telling ARA News that his treatment is what one would “expect from a government that was screaming NO to airstrikes on Daesh and screaming YES for inquiries into the UK killing Daesh through drone strikes.”

Duncan said that he would get his clothes back tomorrow, but that he is still facing an investigation. “Previously it’s been a case of have a safe trip and how was the trip, but now suddenly they’re concerned,” he half-joked.

“I’ll get my stuff, but not the phone, the laptop, or the SIM cards, as they still require them for my investigation,” Duncan explained. “They are in total denial as to why I have been there for two years and that I was previously questioned and cleared by the UK security services.”

Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron had insisted that there is a fundamental difference between fighting alongside Kurdish forces and joining ISIS.

Cameron reassured the public, saying that “highly trained border staff, police and intelligence services” would be able to discern the difference between Islamic extremists and those who risked their lives fighting them.

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