A British man who flew to Syria to wage jihad has been sentenced to 12 years in jail.

Imran Khawaja, 27, travelled to Syria in January 2014 to join Rayat al-Tawheed (RAT), a group linked with the Islamic State. RAT is made up of mostly British jihadists and serves mostly as a recruiting tool for IS, encouraging British citizens to join the Syrian war through activity on social media.

While in Syria, Khawaja participated in RAT recruitment videos and posed for photographs with the severed heads of Syrian soldiers the group had killed in and around the city of Aleppo.

Khawaja, from Ealing, west London, was arrested on 3 June 2014 while attempting to re-enter the UK undetected after faking his own death on the image sharing website Instagram.

In court, he admitted to attending a terrorist training camp, possessing firearms, and preparing acts of terrorism.

Khawaja will serve a minimum of eight years in jail with a further five years on license, with Judge Mr Justice Baker acknowledging that he posed a “significant risk of serious harm” to the British public after his training and radicalisation in Syria.

Tahir Bhatti, Khawaja’s cousin who attempted to smuggle him back into the UK from Serbia, and Asim Ali, a friend of Khawaja who provided him with funds to wage jihad in Syria, have also both been sentenced to 21 months.

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