Dead Syria fighters' brother, 16, banned from travel

Rebel fighters in a village north of Aleppo in Syria Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The boy's brothers were killed fighting in Syria's civil war

A 16-year-old boy whose two elder brothers were killed fighting in Syria's civil war has been barred from travelling abroad.

Mr Justice Hayden made the boy a ward of court, which bars him from leaving the jurisdiction of England and Wales.

The judge made the ruling in the Family Division of the High Court in London after social services raised fears he could travel to Syria.

He said the teenager could not be named.

But he said the local authority which had applied for him to be made a ward of court was Brighton and Hove City Council.

Lawyers said it was thought to be the first time a family court judge had been asked to take such an approach to prevent a boy going to fight in Syria.

'Extraordinary family'

The court heard staff at the local authority had learned family members were making plans for the teenager to go on a trip to Dubai during the Easter holiday.

The judge said his concern was to "keep this lad alive" and an order which prevented him from travelling abroad was proportionate.

"(The teenager) is a vulnerable young person," he said.

"He has grown up in modern Britain in an extraordinary family - a family where the male members are patently committed to waging jihad in war-torn Syria."

Martin Downs, representing the council, said the boy had an uncle who had been held in the United States' detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

He said three of the boy's brothers had gone to fight for the al-Nusra Front - a jihadist group with links to al-Qaeda, and one of the most powerful groups fighting the Syrian army.

Two had died when still in their teens, while the third had been wounded but was still fighting in Syria.

A friend of the teenager had also been killed in fighting.

The judge, who said the four fighters could not be named, added: "The local authority's anxiety here is that (the teenager) may wish to follow the path which his brothers have walked."

'Exhausted by grief'

Mr Downs said the teenager, whose father is thought to live in Libya, was "disaffected" and not "properly engaging" at school and had been involved in fighting.

And he said the boy was currently on police bail after being arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm.

The court heard he lived with his mother and there were concerns she was unable to place "proper boundaries" around him.

The judge said the boy's mother had been "exhausted by grief".

The council had considered asking for him to be taken into care but, given his age, staff thought making him a ward of court would be a better option, the judge said.

He said he had weighed the teenager's human rights and added: "The balance falls clearly in protecting this young man, ultimately from himself."

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