A British man who was fighting ISIS in Syria has been killed while clearing landmines for civilians in the former ISIS-held city of Raqqa, reports said.
Jac Holmes, 24, a former IT worker and decorator in Bournemouth joined the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) in Syria in 2015.
His mother Angie Blannin told the BBC, “He loved what he was doing there, he loved being a soldier. He had the courage of his convictions.”
“He was just a boy when he left the UK, a little bit lost. He told me he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life. But by going out there, he found something that he was good at and that he loved,” she said.
“He stuck by his convictions because he wanted to be there and he wanted to see the end of Raqqa and to see the end of the caliphate. That was a moment in history, and he wanted to be part of it,” Blannin said.
“We thought with any luck he’d be home for Christmas. It had been so tough since he had been away but I was always 100 percent behind him,” she said.
The 24-year-old, who had no previous experience in the military, had spoken with Sky News about how he missed England while in Syria.
“Before I came here, I was just living a normal life, like everyone back home. I was fixing computers and I was a painter… Then I decided I wanted to come and join the YPG. I wanted to fight evil in Syria,” he said.
He added, “I miss England a lot, I’ve been here nearly a year now without going home. I miss everything, I miss living a normal life.”
On Sunday, Oct. 22, the British fighter posted video footage on Instagram where he walked into a stadium in Raqqa just after it had been liberated from ISIS. He died a few days later.
His YPG battalion announced his death in a Facebook post.
“It is with the deepest of hearts that we must announce the passing of şoreş (Jac Holmes) a British volunteer who was fighting alongside the YPG since the beginning of this conflict,” they wrote.
“Jac was fearless in the face of the enemy but still held onto that compassion and reasoning as to why he traveled to Rojava to take part in the fight.”
Idris Al Oso described him as a “hero” in a tweet posted earlier today.
Our dearest comrade and hero Jac Holmes passed away today.His only wish was tosee the end of ISISand he passed inthe last moments of victory pic.twitter.com/fQ0Mlb0IRN
— Idris Al Oso (@Idrisaloso) October 24, 2017
Holmes is thought to be the sixth Briton who has died while fighting ISIS in Syria.