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Home-bred terror duo jailed for Syria roles

By David Mercer

Two British men who travelled to Syria to join an al-Qaida-linked terrorist group have been jailed for nearly 13 years.

Childhood friends Mohammed Ahmed and Yusuf Sarwar, from Birmingham, fled to the war-torn country in May last year after contacting Islamic extremists.

The men, both 22, were arrested on their return to the UK in January and pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorism acts contrary to Section 5 of the Terrorism Act.

They were each given an extended sentence of 17 years and eight months at London's Woolwich Crown Court yesterday, including a custodial term of 12 years and eight months with a five-year licence period.

Judge Michael Topolski QC said: "They willingly, enthusiastically and with a great deal of purpose, persistence and determination embarked on a course intending to commit acts of terrorism.

"The consequences for them are dramatic, the distress for the families considerable.

"It's with no enthusiasm the court sentences young men to significant terms of imprisonment. However, the court will not shrink from its duty where, as here, a grave crime has been committed.

"The sentence in each of your cases is an extended sentence of 17 years and eight months."

Judge Topolski said he had imposed the extended term after reaching the "clear conclusion" that Sarwar and Ahmed are "dangerous".

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