Swiss citizen arrested for fighting against Islamic State

A Swiss man is facing up to three years in prison after he travelled to Syria to fight the Islamic State group.

Johan Cosar, born in Switzerland to parents of Syrian Christian origin, was arrested in Basel in February after his return from the Middle East. Details of his arrest emerged this week.

He had joined a Christian militia fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

Those who travel to Syria to join Isil or other jihadist groups face arrest if they return amid fears they may launch terror attacks in Europe.

But so far most European countries have taken no action against the increasing numbers who are travelling to the region to join local militia fighting against the jihadists.

Mr Cosar helped train the Syriac Military Council, a 500-strong militia which defending the ancient Assyrian Christian minority from Isil, after travelling to to Syria as a journalist.

“I didn’t go to Syria intending to fight,” he said in an interview with the Swiss newspaper Le Temps before his arrest. “I found myself in the middle of a civil war, in a situation where you have to take up arms to protect yourself.”

Under Swiss law it is illegal for citizens to join any foreign military without government permission…

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