A Briton fighting in Syria “turned the gun on himself” to avoid being taken prisoner by so-called Islamic State, Kurdish sources have told the BBC.

Ryan Lock, 20, from Chichester in West Sussex, died on 21 December during a battle for the IS group’s stronghold of Raqqa.

He was fighting as a volunteer with the Kurdish armed fighting forces, the YPG.

The YPG told the BBC that “trace of a gunshot wound was found under the chin”, suggesting suicide.

Sources said five fighters came under siege by IS - also known as ISIS - in the village of Ja'bar, and they showed “considerable resistance” before they were killed.

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After the bodies were retrieved examinations showed that “it seems that the British fighter committed suicide in order not to fall captive with Isis”.

A report said the gunshot wound indicated “that the gun made contact with the bottom of the chin”.

“This suggests that the fighter committed suicide,” it concluded.
‘Outstanding bravery’

Kurdish rights activist Mark Campbell, from KurdishQuestion.com, told BBC South: “Ryan Lock may very well have turned his own gun upon himself rather than be taken prisoner by ISIS.

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

"ISIS were robbed of a predictable macabre propaganda opportunity by Ryan’s action.

"I personally believe he deserves the very highest of military honours for such outstanding bravery in the face of such a barbaric enemy.”

Mr Lock, a chef, had travelled to Syria in August having told friends and family he was going on holiday to Turkey.

Earlier on Tuesday his body was transported into Iraq in preparation to be flown back to the UK.

In a statement to the BBC, his father Jon Lock, from Chichester, said: “Since we heard the devastating news of Ryan, it’s been pretty tough, especially the difficulties surrounding the repatriation.

"We are grateful to the YPG for bringing him home.”

Mr Lock’s body had been in the hands of IS militants.

The volunteer, who attended school in Havant, Hampshire, became the third British man to die fighting alongside the Kurds against so-called Islamic State.

The Foreign Office continues to advise against all travel to Syria.

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Kurdish new year celebration (newroz)

Without the light and the fire of Love,Without the Designer and the power of Creator,We are not able to reach Union.(Light is for us and dark is the night)This fire massing and washing the Heart,My heart claim after it.And here come Newroz and the New Year,When a such light is rising.

Twenty five years ago today, on the 16th of march 1988, Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s deceased former ruler, plotted against the Kurds in the northern province of Iraq and systematically murdered thousands of Kurdish civilians. Under the assumption that the Kurds in Halabja were working against the Iraq during the Gulf war, Saddam had decided that it was vital for the regime to make “an example” of the Kurds, in order to avoid any further acts of treachery against the Kurds. However, there wasn’t much concrete proof on their supposed acts of treachery, and even so systematically killing every civilian in a village is an act that is not comprehensible, let alone justifiable.

Saddam decided to name his tirade against the Kurds as “Al-Anfal” ironically, one of the names of the verses in the Quran. The Halabja massacre killed up to 5000 Kurdish civilians in one tirade, victims included women and children.

Saddam’s use of mustard gas (and other chemical agents), till today remains to be one of the largest chemical weapons attack against a civilian populated area. The victims who had survived the attack, later died from either poisoning or cancer because of the chemical weapons.

Halabja is a prime example of how the USA never cared about the Kurdish people. Shortly after the massacre the US government declared the genocide as a fault of Iran, accusing Iran of targeting the civilians. Although they admittedly knew that it was an act by Saddam.

The Kurds have been incredibly isolated to the point where it is definitely sickening. This was a genocide, against an innocent people.

Halabja, Never forget.