Body of Ryan Lock, who was fighting alongside Kurdish forces near Raqqa, is due to be repatriated to UK in the next few days

A British man who died fighting alongside Kurdish forces in Syria killed himself to avoid being taken hostage by Islamic State militants.

Ryan Lock, 20, from Chichester, West Sussex, died in an offensive by anti-Isis forces in a bid to retake the northern city of Raqqa, considered to be the terrorist groups de facto capital.

The former chef, who had no previous military experience, joined Kurdish militia after telling his family he was going on holiday to Turkey in August.

The Peoples Defence Units (YPG), a Kurdish military force, told Locks family he died along with other fighters on 21 December last year. Now it has emerged he turned the gun on himself to avoid falling captive to Isis and being held as a propaganda tool.

Locks father, Jon Plater, confirmed BBC reports that it appeared he killed himself to avoid falling captive to Isis. He told the Press Association: We did know. It is true 100%.

YPG general command member Mihyedin Xirki described Lock who used the nom de guerre Berxwedan Givara, meaning resistance Guevara as a martyr who died putting up a brave fight. Xirki said in a statement: We bless the resistance of British martyr Berxwedan Givara for the families of all martyrs and the British people.

A military ceremony attended by dozens of pro-Kurdish fighters, representatives from political parties and NGOs was held on Tuesday in Rojava, the de facto autonomous Kurdish region of northern Syria.

Photographs of the ceremony showed a coffin displaying a photograph of Lock, who went to school in Havant, Hampshire, and a union flag surrounded by armed militia.

A YPG spokesman said the body of Lock was handed over to the British Consulate after they had bade farewell to him, and his body is due to be repatriated to the UK in the next few days.

Mark Campbell, a Kurdish rights campaigner, said on Facebook: UK YPG volunteer Ryan Locks body passed over the border of Rojava to KRG [Kurdish regional government] region with military honours [on Tuesday]to begin his journey home to his family and friends for burial in the UK.

Our thoughts are very much with his mother, father and whole family at this difficult time and very much hope that the repatriation process in Erbil will be speedy so the family can have Ryan home, as soon as possible, for burial.

In a statement, Plater said: Since we heard the devastating news of Ryan, its been pretty tough, especially the difficulties surrounding the repatriation. We are grateful to the YPG for bringing him home.

The British Foreign Office advises against all travel to Syria. Lock is the third British man to die fighting Isis with the Kurds in Syria.

Dean Evans, 22, a dairy farmer from Reading died in the city of Manbij in July last year and former Royal Marine Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, 25, from Barnsley died in the northern village of Tel Khuzela in March 2015.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: Our sympathies are with Ryan Locks family at this very difficult time. We are in contact with them and have provided advice to them on repatriation of his body.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/02/briton-who-died-in-syria-shot-himself-to-avoid-becoming-isis-hostage

Briton who died in Syria shot himself to avoid becoming Isis hostage
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