UK

Anti-IS fighter family probed by police

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Media captionKimberley Taylor speaking to BBC News from Raqqa in February 2017

An anti-IS fighter who travelled to Syria from Blackburn has claimed her family is being threatened with prosecution.

Kimberley Taylor - the first known British woman to fight against IS - joined Kurdish forces in the battle to reclaim Raqqa in March 2016.

Ms Taylor claims her parents' laptops and phones have been taken away and not returned for a month.

She claims that her family are "afraid for their own safety".

The Kurdish women fighting IS

Volunteering with the Kurds to fight IS

Islamic State and the crisis in Iraq and Syria in maps

The 27-year-old - also known as Kimmie - joined the Kurdish Women's Protection Units (YPJ) military academy and has been fighting against so-called Islamic State in Raqqa since October last year.

Ms Taylor said her mother, father, step-father and sister have been visited by counter-terrorism police.

They have also had phones and computers removed from their homes in Prescot and Chorley.

Speaking to the BBC over a messaging app from northern Syria, she responded to information given to her about her family.

Ms Taylor said: "One month later, they haven't been given anything back.

"This means that we haven't been able to have contact for all this time and their stress levels about my safety must be sky high."

The former University of Liverpool maths student added: "My family are now not only afraid for my safety... they are now also afraid for their own safety from the British establishment, which they do not see the reasons or aims behind.

"Their actions aren't justified at all. The British establishment are playing political games. This is not about controlling terrorist threats, this is about frightening people who want change for the world and Britain too."

The Metropolitan Police has warned that anyone who travels to Syria to fight could be arrested and questioned when they return.

The Home Office said it could not comment on police operations.

A government spokeswoman added those who travel abroad in order to participate in conflicts could face prosecution when they return to the UK.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The Syrian Kurdish fighters are an offshoot of a Turkey-based group labelled a terrorist organisation by the US and EU

Ms Taylor, who also goes by the name Zilan Dilber, said that she fights on the front line with her male counterparts in the YPG.

Speaking in February, she said: "The [women] are young, 18, 19, 20, they're taking on this power which seems uncontrollable.

"I don't want to die. I have too much work to do."

"It's a necessary thing," she added. "This is for the freedom of all people and this is for humanity."

Image caption Ryan Lock was one of a number of British men to join the fight against IS in Syria

Although Ms Taylor is the first known woman from the UK to reach Syria to join the fight against IS, numerous British men have done so.

In January it emerged 20-year-old Ryan Lock had died in December as a volunteer fighter for YPG during a battle for Raqqa.

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