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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

British YPG fighter killed while clearing mines in Raqqa

Mr Hall was helping to remove mines left by Isil after they were defeated and fled the city

Oliver Hall, holding weapon, pictured in Syria with a fellow international fighter with the YPG. Oliver Hall/Facebook
Oliver Hall, holding weapon, pictured in Syria with a fellow international fighter with the YPG. Oliver Hall/Facebook

A British man who travelled to Syria to fight against Isil has died while clearing mines in Raqqa. Oliver Hall, 24, had been serving with the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) having arrived in the country in August.

Mr Hall was helping to remove mines left by Isil after they were defeated and fled the city when he was fatally injured in an explosion when a piece of ordinance was triggered.

Mark Campbell, co-chairman of the Kurdish Solidarity Campaign, released a statement on Thursday in which he noted with “deep regret and sorrow” that Mr Hall, who came from Portsmouth, had died on November 25.

“It is with deep regret and sorrow that I can confirm via Kurdish sources in Syria that Ollie Hall, a UK national who travelled to Syria in August to help in the liberation of the ISIS city of Raqqa with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), fell on 25 November from an explosion of ordnance left by Daesh after the liberation of the city.

“Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of Ollie at this time,” Mr Campbell said.

Mr Hall is reported to have undergone the routine month-long training with the YPG, which included military training as well as education in the political aims of the movement. He was given the name Canşêr Zagros and served with other international fighters in an infantry division.

The YPG released a statement paying tribute to Hall, saying: "On November 25th, 2017, Canşêr Zagros, who was involved in mine clearance work, martyred as he was trying to defuse a booby-trap.

“Comrade Canşêr Zagros, who joined the ranks of People’s Defense Units from United Kingdom when the Raqqa Campaign was going on, actively took part in various fields of work.

“Like many other Internationalist comrades who made ultimate sacrifice during Raqqa Operation, Comrade Canşêr had been trying to fulfill his duties and responsibilities for months and had a great labor.

“We’d like to extend our sympathy to our martyr’s family.”

Mr Hall’s death comes a month after the death of Jac Holmes, another British volunteer who died in Raqqa just days after its liberation.