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STUTTGART, Germany — Three alleged ISIS supporters faced German judges on terror charges for the first time Wednesday morning as their trial over a supply haul for the Syrian battlefield began. Two of them were arrested a year ago when German police stopped them at a highway rest area on their way to Syria. Their car was packed full with supplies. The third was arrested early this year for helping them.
Inside the vehicle investigators found medical supplies, two night-vision devices, binoculars, camouflage jackets and pants. The accused apparently had the upcoming winter in mind and packed 40 pairs of gloves, 13 wool hats, as well as extra socks and underwear.
Prosecutors said Wednesday that the main defendant, a Lebanese national who had grown up in Germany, had first traveled to Syria from August to November 2013 to fight the Assad regime. There he allegedly joined an ISIS-affiliated group, fought in an Aleppo suburb, and received money and instructions from his commander to buy the supplies on a visit to his German home.
In court Wednesday, the 24-year-old defendant made an emotional appeal, saying that he traveled to the Syrian battlefield because of his family history. He said that many of his Syrian relatives had suffered at the hands of Assad, and that a year ago he was not aware of the atrocities ISIS would commit. “This morning I saw a news report about IS enslaving women. How sick is that?” he said.
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