A YOUNG British man who dreamt of joining the army but was refused because of his asthma has been killed fighting Daesh alongside Kurdish forces in Syria according to his father.
One of many foreign volunteers to travel to the war-torn nation to help the Kurdish cause and make war against the terrorist outfit, 22-year-old Dean Carl Evans hailed from Reading and reportedly died on July 21 during an offensive launched by the Kurdish People’s Defence Units (YPG).
Although the Foreign Office is unable to confirm or deny his death, the YPG have issued a statement of condolence to his family, describing Evans as a “martyr” who possessed a “revolutionary and combative spirit on the front lines and always fought without hesitation to protect the people of this region”.
His father John announced his son’s death on Facebook with a post that read: “To all my friends and family for those who knew my son Dean Carl Evans the young age of 22 sadly lost his life in Syria fighting for our country.”
The YPG was founded as the military unit of the Democratic Union Party, a Kurdish political movement emerging from northern Syria in 2003. Although it receives no backing from the west, it is extremely accepting of foreign fighters, requiring no military experience and boasting around 100 western members.
It is allied with, but distinct from, the Peshmerga, the fearsome Iraqi-Kurdistani army and only ground-based force to seriously challenge Daesh, and models itself on the International Brigades, who attracted countless thousands of empathetic foreigners to fight Franco’s forces during the Spanish Civil War.
A fellow Brit who knew Evans and is affiliated with the YPG, said: “As I understand it Dean was behind a wall when he was hit by an Isis bullet. A female YPG fighter came over to help him. As she was tending to his wound, an RPG rocket hit the wall and killed them both.”
A Facebook tribute from another British volunteer fighter in Syria posted a tribute to Evans which read: “He was a fellow British man that couldn’t share this world with Isis. A man that felt that positive action rather than meaningless words would make a difference in this world.”
It is unclear how long Evans had been in Syria but it is estimated that he had left to join the YPG in March of this year. He is not the first British national to die fighting alongside the group.
Spring 2015 saw the death of Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, a 25-year-old Royal Marine who was motivated by the filmed beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning to fight Daesh. A month previously Ashley Johnston, a 28-year-old Australian army reservist was killed during an offensive.
Foreigners determined to join the armed struggle against Daesh often tread the same Turkish roads as their future enemies, outsiders looking to join the group, who dramatically outnumber them.
The British government advises against all travel to Syria, commenting only in relation to Evan’s death that “The UK has advised for some time against all travel to Syria. As all UK consular services there are suspended, it is extremely difficult to confirm the status and whereabouts of British nationals in Syria.”
“Anyone who does travel to these areas, for whatever reason, is putting themselves in considerable danger.”