Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Bitcoin entrepreneur Amir Taaki quizzed over fighting in Syria

A London-based software developer and "hacker" has said he is under police investigation after going to Syria to fight against the Islamic State group.

Amir Taaki, 29, a leading developer of online currency Bitcoin, was once named by Forbes as one of the most influential young people in technology.

Mr Taaki told the BBC he returned to the UK from Syria in 2016 and has spent the past 12 months on police bail.

The Foreign Office warns people not to travel to Syria for any reason.

"When I discovered Rojava [the term Kurds use to refer to northern or Syrian Kurdistan] I felt I had to go there," he told the BBC.
"At first, I was completely scared - I thought I was going to die.

"I got sent to the frontline. I had no training, and I was given a Kalashnikov. I learnt how to use a gun on the way, another Western fighter showed me."

Mr Taaki says he spent three and half months fighting with the Kurdish People's Protection Units [YPG] military group and experienced several battles against IS.

He says he was not injured in the fighting, except in one incident, he tells me laughing: "I did fall into a trench."

When asked "Did you kill anyone?" he explains that his experiences in battles with IS were at long range, so it is impossible to tell.

"I found myself on the front with a gun, I had to fight. But I wanted to go elsewhere, where my skills would be useful."

Mr Taaki says he later met with the economics committee of Rojava and began helping the Kurds with local projects, such as a crowd-funding campaign which raised money and then built fertilizer factories to help farmers growing food.

BBC     News.