Abdullah Deghayes: My son was the martyr of a just cause, says father of British teenager killed in Syria conflict

 

The father of an 18-year-old Brighton man killed while fighting alongside his brothers with rebel forces in Syria has said his son was "a martyr" who died "for a just cause".

Abdullah Deghayes, who left the UK for Syria with his 16-year-old brother Jaffar in January, is thought to have been killed in combat within the past few weeks, shortly after his 18th birthday. His older brother, Amer, 20, who is understood to have gone to fight in Syria after joining an aid convoy to the region last year, has also been wounded, the boys' father Abubaker Deghayes said.

Mr Deghayes said that the brothers had gone to Syria "of their own free will" without the consent of their parents, but had not been in contact with any groups encouraging young Muslims to fight in Syria.

Yesterday, the brothers' aunt told of how their mother had been "distraught" to discover that Abdullah and Jaffar had gone missing, later discovering that their passports were gone. 

"They are in contact with their mum," Amani Deghayes told The Independent. "Their dad says he has tried speaking to them, that he would tie them up and bring them back if he could."

Abdullah is the nephew of former Guantanomo Bay detainee Omar Deghayes, but Ms Deghayes said that though the brothers' decision to go to Syria had not been influenced by him but was "a symptom the current times".

Speaking outside his home in Brighton yesterday their father said he had "never encouraged" his sons to go and fight but felt "some comfort" knowing Abdullah had fought for a "just cause".

"The cause is to help those who are being bombed daily by Assad and killed by his bombings and air raids and soldiers for nothing except to ask for their freedom," he said. "I hope this was his intention, I hope he is rewarded and I hope he is in peace now."

Friends of Abdullah, who also has a twin brother, a younger brother and an older sister, reacted with shock at the news, with several posting messages on Facebook and Twitter. Ms Amani said that Abdullah had been a "charming, and very spirited" boy who had never appeared have been overtly "political".

Abdullah Deghayes is believed to have been killed earlier this month Abdullah Deghayes is believed to have been killed earlier this month
"The twins were really into exercise, and bodybuilding, and eating healthily," she said. "I remember they didn't want to eat any chocolate, they were so worried about their diet…He wasn't really a political boy. The twins were always very cheeky….I was really shocked [to hear they had gone to Syria]. He was really fun-loving, social, he had lots of friends."

She said that Abdullah's brother Amer, who was the first of the brothers to fight in Syria, had first gone to Turkey with an aid convoy in September. "Amer was really into his gym and building his muscles. The next thing I knew he was getting involved in serious stuff in Syria."

Amer is understood to have suffered a bullet wound in the stomach in the same battle in which Abdullah was killed. Although the brothers were said to have been in touch with their parents via Facebook, his current condition was not clear yesterday, but their father said that the youngest brother fighting in Syria, 16-year-old Jaffar, was "ok".

In total, it is believed that 400 British nationals have travelled to Syria since conflict broke out in early 2011, and of these 400, it is estimated 20 have died so far.

Omar Deghayes, who is currently in Tripoli, said he had only heard one eyewitness account of what happened to Abdullah.

He said: "Abdullah Deghayes was a young man full of life, he had a bright future ahead, he was just like any 18-year-old, but his heart was different.

"He couldn't sit still watching the news of the gross injustice taking place in Syria.

The Foreign Secretary William Hague yesterday reiterated warnings to British citizens not to travel to Syria and said fighters returning to the UK were an "increasing threat to our own national security".

"Where we are aware of people proposing to travel to Syria we can take action about it, including depriving people of their passports, including if they are people who are resident in the UK but not British nationals, the Home Secretary can cancel their leave to remain in the UK," he said.

Read more: 'We will be martyrs', say rebel fighters
Nations fail to honor financial pledges to Syrian refugees
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
Russell Brand has written a book of political analysis called Revolution
peopleFilm star says he is 'not interested in making money anymore'
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Chastain during an interview in Los Angeles.
filmsOscar hopeful Jessica Chastain reveals the secret to her breakthrough success
News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

News
news
Life and Style
Meow! ... Again, Kim Kardashian goes for a sexy Halloween costume, wrapping her body with a latex catsuit and high heeled knee boots
fashionFrom Heidi Klum to Kim Kardashian
News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksChristmas comes early for wizard fans
Arts and Entertainment
filmsOculus Rift offers breathtakingly realistic simulation of zero gravity
Sport
footballAccording to revelations from Sergio Aguero's new biography
Life and Style
tech

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Senior Research Fellow in Gender, Food and Resilient Communities

£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: The Centre for Agroecology, ...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker