British ex-soldiers make death pact while fighting alongside Kurdish forces against Isis

The pair said they would rather shoot each other dead than be captured by Isis

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The Independent Online

Two British ex-soldiers who travelled to Syria to fight against the so-called Islamic State have said that they promised to kill each other in a death pact rather than get captured.

Jamie Read and James Hughes said that they agreed to shoot each other rather than have their “heads paraded on YouTube”, in reference to propaganda videos released by Isis depicting scenes of decapitated hostages.

Read, a 24-year-old from Cumbria who had a brief stint in the Second Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's regiment, said during an interview with Sky News: “Everybody out there is carrying a round for themselves. Nobody wants to be captured by IS. Nobody wants to end up on YouTube getting their head cut off.

“So for us, as harsh as it sounds, it's probably the better way to go. It's the old saying, ‘you keep a round for each other’.”

The pair had also pre-recorded a video for their families in the case that they would be kidnapped and killed while supporting Kurdish fighters, for which they claim they were “not paid a penny.”

Alan Henning was abducted while delivering aid to Syrian children

After their three-week stint on the front line, they were held for questioning at Heathrow Airport for six hours and they claim to have faced mountains of debt on their return. Neither was arrested or charged for terrorism, unlike every other British national who left the country to fight in the Syrian civil war.

Read and Hughes also said they had “zero tolerance for terrorism” and cited that and the murder of British aid volunteer Alan Henning as their justification for choosing to fight against the militant group.


Their homes have been fitted with panic alarms in fear of Isis supporters who could be planning to seek retribution and the pair have also been monitored in a counter-terrorism watch.

Hughes, 26, from Worcestershire and served three tours of Afghanistan with the British Army, added that patrols would be put out just in case their homes are attacked.

The Lions of Rojava page on Facebook, for the YPG which is also known as the People's Defence Unit, has claimed that soldiers from countries such as the US, Germany, Netherlands and Estonia have also joined the Kurdish force.

Around 200 soldiers will be deployed by the British Army in the New Year to train Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers for six months, in plans announced last week.