Briton fighting IS in Syria 'shot himself to avoid capture'

Ryan Lock from Chichester committed suicide during fight to retake Raqqa, say Kurdish militia

Ryan Lock

A British man who left his home to join the fight against Islamic State in Syria killed himself as he faced capture by jihadist fighters, according to Kurdish sources.

Chef Ryan Lock, 20, of Chichester, West Sussex, died on 21 December during a fight to retake Raqqa, considered IS's final stronghold in the region.

He left his hometown in August 2016, telling friends he was going on holiday in Turkey, and joined the Kurdish militia YPG group, which has been at the forefront of the battle to drive IS from the Middle East.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

He is the third Briton to die fighting alongside Kurdish forces, says The Independent.

Lock's former comrades told the BBC he had been one of five fighters who put up "considerable resistance" as militants closed in on their position in the village of Ja'bar.

His body was retrieved after YPG fighters captured the village and an examination revealed "the gun made contact with the bottom of the chin".

The group's report added: "It seems that the British fighter committed suicide in order not to fall captive with Isis."

Kurdish rights activist Mark Campbell told the BBC that if true, Lock robbed IS of "a predictable macabre propaganda opportunity".

He added: "There are no words to describe the bravery required to take such an action."

Hundreds of volunteers from Europe, North America and Australia have joined YPG's fight against IS, with several commentators comparing them to the 30,000 anti-fascists who made up the International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War.

However, it is a "delicate and dangerous proposition", says US magazine Fusion.

"At least ten foreign volunteers have been killed fighting Isis, and the terror group has reportedly put out a $150,000 bounty for the capture or killing of western YPG fighters."

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.