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British citizen fighting ISIS killed in Syria

04 March 2015, 14:38

Irbil - A British citizen fighting alongside Kurdish forces against the Islamic State group has been killed in Syria, a Kurdish commander said Wednesday.

Konstandinos Erik Scurfield was shot dead March 2 in the front-line village of Tel Khuzela, Kurdish commander Redor Khalil told The Associated Press. Another foreign fighter battling with the Kurds, American Jordan Matson, said he is with the body and working on getting the remains back to Britain.

Several foreign fighters have traveled to Syria and neighboring Iraq to fight with Kurdish militias battling the Islamic State group. Matson and four other foreign nationals told AP last month that they arranged to join Kurdish forces through the Facebook page run by the People's Protection Units, or YPG, the main Syrian Kurdish militia fighting in northern Syria.

The Islamic State group, which currently holds territory in a third of Iraq and Syria, has recruited thousands of foreign fighters from Europe and elsewhere in the Middle East.

The British Foreign Office said it is aware of reports that a British national died in Syria.

"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," it said.

At least one other foreign fighter, Australian Ase Johnson, is known to have been killed fighting alongside the Kurds.

Neither the U.S. nor the U.K. have banned citizens from fighting with militias against the Islamic State group, though both consider the Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers' Party, known as the PKK, a terrorist organization. The PKK, which waged a long and bloody insurgency against Ankara, is believed to have close ties to the YPG and is fighting alongside it in northern Iraq and Syria.

Australians are forbidden by law from fighting with any force outside of the Australian national army. Australia was also one of the first countries to criminalize travel to Syria's al-Raqqa province, where the Islamic State group has established the de facto capital of its self-styled caliphate.

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- AP

Tags syria war

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