A British man who had volunteered with the Kurds to fight ISIS in Syria reportedly killed himself after getting surrounded by militants.
Ryan Lock, 20, from West Sussex, sustained a leg injury while fighting in Raqqa on Dec. 21 before getting surrounded by ISIS fighters, The Guardian reported. He then shot himself to avoid getting captured.
The YPG told the BBC that a “trace of a gunshot wound was found under the chin.”
In August, Lock told his mum that he was going backpacking in Turkey, and only later told her that he had volunteered with the YPG, Sky News reported.
Lock had previously worked as a chef, and had had no military training, Sky News said. The YPG, however, provided him with some training, and he posted on Facebook that he had been trained to use a sniper rifle and night vision goggles, the Guardian said.
The Guardian reported that he was a “quiet and reserved” man who liked to play military video games. But he was also “quite political,” his mum, Catherine, said.
Lock had reportedly experienced a fair amount of fighting before his death. The Guardian said that he got struck under rubble in November during Turkish air raids. He ended up receiving facial wounds and later posted on social media: “We got hit by Turkish jets in the night … I’m staying to finish out my six months.”
Turkey and the YPG have gotten into a number of skirmishes in the last few months.
Lock’s mum began to worry in early December when she hadn’t heard from her son for two weeks, Sky News said. His dad, John Plater, later found a picture of his son’s body on an ISIS website, with a militant standing over him acting as if his son was a “trophy,” the Guardian said.
A Canadian man who fought with Lock later wrote his mum and said he “died a true hero,” Sky News said.
“Since we heard the devastating news of Ryan, it’s been pretty tough, especially the difficulties surrounding the repatriation,” Lock’s dad told BBC. “We are grateful to the YPG for bringing him home.”
Although ISIS had Lock’s body for a number of months, it was later recovered by the YPG and sent back to England, the BBC and Guardian said. Approximately 30 Kurdish people greeted Lock’s body upon his return home with roses and framed pictures of him.
“We bless the resistance of British martyr Berxwedan Givara for the families of all martyrs and the British people. Our martyr fell putting up a brave fight,” a YPG commander named Mihyedin Xirki said, according to the Independent.
The coroner of Portsmouth and South East Hampshire said he was a “heroic young man.”
Lock is the third British citizen to die fighting for the YPG, the Guardian said.
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