Two Spaniards Arrested on return from Fighting Against ISIS in Syria

From El Pais

Two Spanish communists have been arrested in Madrid after returning from fighting against Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria. Police sources have confirmed that the pair are the same two men who appeared in a video that was released in January, in which they spoke from the desert about how they were taking part in a “revolutionary war” started by Kurdish militias to bring down the “fascist beast that is Islamic State.” One of the men has been identified as Paco Arcadio.

Sources from the Marxist-Leninist Party (Communist Reconstruction), to which both belong, explained that the first arrest took place in Madrid on Monday morning, when one of the young men “went to buy some bread.” “Hooded police officers swooped in on him and they treated him like a terrorist, when what he did was go to fight against terrorists,” the same sources said.

The second arrest took place at 7pm, after the other man went to a police station accompanied by his lawyer.

The police searched their houses on Monday afternoon.

The police claim that the two combatants had traveled from Syria to Turkey, and then on to Germany. The rest of the trip to Spain, where they arrived two weeks ago, had been undertaken by car.

The two are accused of participating in an armed conflict outside of Spain without authorization from the state, as well as putting national interests at risk and joining groups fighting against ISIS that are considered terrorist organizations by international organizations.

The police, sources added, are aiming to avoid copycat cases of youngsters who subscribe to radical ideology getting into situations where they could fall into the hands of ISIS.

“They want people to believe that [the two detainees] belong to the PKK [the Kurdish Communist Party, included in European lists of terrorist groups], but that is not the case,” explain sources from Communist Reconstruction, which refused to supply the identity of the men. “They don’t belong to the PKK, but rather an international communist brigade. The two have no relationship.”

The two are accused of participating in an armed conflict outside of Spain without authorization from the state

The detained men had joined the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), along with a number of other European citizens. In the video in which they appear, the two spoke of why they had decided to join the fight “for the Turkish working class.” They appeared draped in a Communist flag and another from the Second Spanish Republic.

The Spanish brigade members who recorded the video arrived in Syria at the beginning of the year, and, once integrated in a battalion made up of members from a range of countries, set up a base in Serekaniye, a city controlled by the YPG, the Kurdish militia that has driven ISIS out of a number of areas of Syria and that is opposed to the group as well as the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

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