Australian mercenary killed fighting against ISIS in Syria

A 28-year-old Australian man, who was one of dozens of foreigners to have travelled to Syria to join Kurds battling ISIS militants, has been killed in the strife-torn country, becoming the first Westerners to die fighting the dreaded terror group.

PTI| Updated: Feb 26, 2015, 14:09 PM IST

Melbourne: A 28-year-old Australian man, who was one of dozens of foreigners to have travelled to Syria to join Kurds battling ISIS militants, has been killed in the strife-torn country, becoming the first Westerners to die fighting the dreaded terror group.

"An Australian man was killed in an assault on Tuesday by the Islamic State against a position of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) near Tal Hamis in Hasakeh province," Rami Abdel Rahman, the director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, was quoted saying in 'Sydney Morning Herald'.

The report said that Fairfax Media spoke to a Kurdish Syrian translator, Sabry Omar, who saw the Australian mercenary on Mount Sinjar in Iraqi Kurdistan last month.

"He was on the frontline when he was injured - I saw him in hospital, but he was not seriously hurt," he said.

"A suicide bomber in a car exploded near him and his eyes were injured."

The report said that Omar informed that he last saw the Australian, identified as Ashley on some social media sites, on January 28 or 29.

"His nickname was Gabar - which is the name of a Kurdish mountain in Turkey.?He had many tattoos...I am sure he must have been a professional soldier in Australia from his level of experience (as a fighter)...," Rahman said.

He said dozens of Westerners have joined the YPG's ranks to fight against the Islamic State that has seized hundreds of square miles in Iraq and Syria.

"There are foreigners fighting on all sides of Syria's war...They are volunteers, they don't get paid anything at all," he said.

"The YPG isn't actively recruiting foreigners, but people from countries like Canada, the United States, Britain, Spain, Australia, Holland, Austria and France have travelled to Syria to join their ranks," he said.

The well-trained YPG has emerged as a key partner for the US-led coalition against ISIS in Syria.