Terror trial starts of Coventry man accused of trying to travel to Syria

A Coventry man tried to join friends fighting for Islamic State in Syria, a jury at the Old Bailey has heard today (Monday May 18). 

Zakariya Ashiq, from Foleshill, failed in his attempt to get into the war-torn country last November and was arrested when he returned to the UK. 

Prosecuting, Sarah Whitehouse QC told the court that the unemployed 20 year old had made other attempts to enter Syria to join two of his friends, Ali Kalantar and Mohammed Ismail and their friend Rashid Amani - all also from Coventry. They were believed to be engaged in the conflict. 

Ms Whitehouse stated that Ashiq may have successfully entered Syria in May 2014, however, when questioned by police about his travel plans the former tyre factory worker said he had no desire to join IS and that his friend Ismail was "an idiot" for signing up. 

Evidence found on Ashiq’s computer included chat room conversations praising Islamic State. There were also WhatsApp recordings sent to his friends describing the efforts he was making to join them and asking for their help in getting him across the Jordanian/Iraqi border as he suspected the Turkish authorities would not let him into Syria via their crossing. 

He also said: "The second I get a chance I am doing martyrdom." 

Officers from the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit arrested Ashiq when he flew home from Jordan to Heathrow having failed in his suspected objectives.  

Ashiq denies preparing for acts of terrorism and assisting others to prepare for acts of terrorism. The trial is expected to last a week.