A 20-year-old British chef who had gone to Syria to fight against dreaded Islamic State terrorists has died in the war zone. Ryan Lock from Chichester in West Sussex had travelled to join the People's Defence Units (YPG), the Kurdish military force fighting in northern Syria in August last year.
The chef had no military experience. In a letter seen by the BBC, the YPG said he was killed on December 21 2016 in Jaeber village in the battle for the Syrian city of Raqqa.
The letter offered condolences to the family of Ryan, given the Kurdish name Berxwedan Givara. "Ryan was not only a fighter providing additional force to our struggle.
In fact, with his experience and knowledge he has been an example for younger fighters," the letter said. It added that while Ryan's family had lost "their beloved son" and "we the YPG lost our daring and courageous companion".
"Ryan was a very caring and loving boy who would do anything to help anyone. He had a heart of gold. We ask for privacy to allow our family to grieve," his father John Lock said.
Lock is believed to have joined Kurdish militia after telling his family he was going on holiday to Turkey. "The UK has advised for some time against all travel to Syria.
Anyone who does travel to these areas, for whatever reason, is putting themselves in danger," a UK Foreign Office spokesperson said.