Foreign Office confirms death of British man 'killed in Syria fighting alongside US woman for the rebels against Assad's regime'

Verifying the reported death has been complicated by the fact Britain has no diplomatic presence in Syria

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The Independent Online

The Foreign Office has confirmed reports that a Briton has been killed by government forces in Syria.

Unconfirmed reports today named the Briton killed as Ali Al-Manasfi, 22, from London.

The man, an American woman and another Westerner were said to have died while taking photographs of military positions in Idlib province, near the Turkish border.

Syrian television has shown what it claims to be the British passport of the man, which appears to show he was born in London in June 1990.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which opposes Bashar al-Assad's regime, has reportedly suggested the trio were working with rebels.

The American was last night named as Nicole Mansfield, a 33-year-old Muslim convert from Michigan.

The woman's aunt told Reuters that the FBI had informed her on Thursday afternoon of the death of her niece, Nicole Mansfield of Flint, but said she did not have the details of how she died.

"I'm just devastated," said the aunt, Monica Mansfield Speelman. "Evidently, she was fighting with opposition forces."

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We understand that a British national has been killed in Syria. Their family have been informed and we are providing consular assistance."

Britain has withdrawn all diplomats from Syria amid the escalating bloodshed.

It is difficult for British authorities to verify such reports as it has withdrawn all diplomats from Syria amid the escalating bloodshed.

Fighting has been raging in Syria with the international community still at loggerheads over how to resolve the crisis.

According to reports, the deaths happened on Wednesday, a week after a British doctor died in Idlib province. Isa Abdur Rahman, 26, a graduate of Imperial College London who had travelled to the country to treat injured civilians, was killed when a makeshift hospital was shelled.