Konstandinos Erik Scurfield: Family pays tribute to the first British soldier killed by Isis

The 25-year-old is believed to have been killed by mortar fire

Relatives of the first Briton to have been killed fighting against Isis in Syria have spoken of their devastation at the news, which was confirmed today.

Former Royal Marine Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, who travelled to Syria several months ago, died fighting alongside Kurdish forces in the north of the country on Monday. The 25-year-old is believed to have been killed by mortar fire.

In a statement issued today, his family said: “We are devastated to confirm the death of our son Konstandinos Erik Scurfield in Syria where he went to support the forces opposing Islamic State.”

They added: “His flame might have burned briefly but it burned brightly with love, courage, conviction and honour and we are very proud of him. We would like to request that we be allowed to grieve in peace as a family without intrusion at this difficult time.”

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The family of Konstandinos Erik Scurfield had been increasingly worried about his safety

Jordan Matson, a former US soldier fighting with the Kurds, paid tribute to the Briton on Facebook, describing him as a “disciplined warrior” who “volunteered for every attack and guard duty opportunity. He wanted nothing more than to bring the fight to the enemy”.

Mr Scurfield’s family, who live in the village of Royston, South Yorkshire, had been increasingly worried about his safety in recent weeks, and went to their local MP Dan Jarvis for help.

In a statement, Mr Jarvis said: “Erik was an experienced former Royal Marine who was horrified by the atrocities being carried out by ISIS. His family's understanding was that he travelled to Syria hoping to provide medical and humanitarian support as an expert in battlefield medicine.”

He added: “There is an issue that needs to be addressed as Erik was certainly not the first person to travel to Syria to join forces resisting ISIS.”

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A YPG fighter holds his weapon. Some 100 western fighters have joined the group's ranks to fight Isis (Getty)

This comes a week after Ashley Johnston, 28, from Queensland, Australia, became the first foreign fighter to die in the fight against Isis.

Around 100 western fighters are believed to have joined the ranks of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), many fighting in a volunteer brigade called the Lions of Rojava.

In November last year it emerged that two former British soldiers, Jamie Read, 24, from Cumbria, and James Hughes, 26, from Worcestershire, had gone to Syria to fight. And an unnamed serving soldier from the 2nd Battalion, The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment was persuaded by his family to return to his unit last month after he travelled to Turkey in a bid to join up with YPG fighters.

 

Up to 50 Britons may have gone to Syria to fight against Isis and President Assad's regime, according to Dr Afzal Ashraf, a counter-terrorism expert at the Royal United Services Institute. “I have heard of about four or five ex-soldiers that we have come across that have gone out, and I am guessing that there will be others that we don't know about,” he said.

In a statement, a Foreign Office spokesperson said: “The UK has advised for some time against all travel to Syria, where all UK consular services are suspended. As we do not have any representation in Syria, it is extremely difficult to get any confirmation of deaths or injuries and our options for supporting British nationals there are extremely limited.”

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