Former UK marine becomes first Briton to be 'killed fighting Isis in Syria'

A former Royal Marine has become the first Briton to be killed while fighting alongside Kurdish forces

Kunal Dutta
Wednesday 04 March 2015 00:01
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A YPG fighter holds his weapon
A YPG fighter holds his weapon

A former British soldier is thought to have become the first UK national to be killed fighting against Isis in Syria.

The former British marine, named last night by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) as Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, is from Barnsley.

He is believed to have died in Qamishli, a city in the northeast of the country.

A British pro-Kurdish activist told the BBC he had informed Mr Scurfield's family of the death.

News of his plight emerged after Jordan Matson, a 28-year-old former US soldier who joined the Kurdish YPG last year, wrote on social media: “I lost a brother very close to me ... from the United Kingdom and former royal marine gave his life combating terrorism for his nation and Kurdistan.

“It was an honor (sic) and a privilege to fight at your side brother. You were one of my best friends.”

The incident comes just over a week after the former Australian soldier Ashley Johnston was reportedly killed during an assault by Kurdish forces on an Isis position at Gassan, near Til Hemis in Rojava, a Syrian Kurdish region near the Turkish border.

Mr Johnston was thought to be the first Westerner to die fighting with the array of militia groups fighting against Isis.

It is currently unclear when Mr Scurfield, who used the Kurdish nom-de-guerre Heval Kemal, travelled to Syria, but his Facebook posts show a preoccupation with social justice issues.

In one image he is sitting in front of a poster of Malcolm X. Another shows an image split in two halves. One half shows the Ku Klux Klan with the words “No-one thinks these people are representative of Christians.” The other half shows a picture of Isis militants with the words: “so why do so many think these people are representative of Muslims?”

The Foreign Office said it was unable to confirm the death because Britain has no diplomatic relations with Syria.

A spokesman said: “We are aware of reports of the death of a British national in Syria. The UK has advised for some time against all travel to Syria, where all UK consular services are suspended.”

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