” An Australian killed fighting for the Kurds against Islamic State in northern Syria – and thought to be the first Westerner to die in battle against IS – has been identified as 28 year-old Ashley Kent Johnston.
Mr Johnston, born in Maryborough, Queensland, is believed to have been a resident of the ACT before joining the fight against IS in Syria and Iraqi Kurdistan.
Australian Kurdish Association president Gulfer Olan confirmed Mr Johnston had died in the fighting and said she was trying to contact Mr Johnston’s family to pass on the Kurdish community’s condolences.
A man reported killed fighting against Islamic State in Syria, and identified as 28-year-old Australian Ashley Kent Johnston.
Fairfax Media has obtained an image of Mr Johnston’s passport from Australian Kurdish representatives. He was born on April 15, 1986.”
The news of the Australian’s death travelled fast through Kurdistan and the Kurdish controlled enclave of Jazira in north-eastern Syria.
Mr Rahman said dozens of Westerners had joined the YPG’s ranks.
” 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 YPG posted an announcement along with a tribute video on their Facebook page:
” We the YPG regretfully inform you of the death of one of our bravest western fighters Heval Bagok Serhed. He is the first western fighter to be martyred fighting the evil of isis. Rest in Peace our Brother
We cannot disclose his identity as of yet for security reasons but in Rojava he went by the name of Heval Bagok Serhed. A YPG spokesman Redur Xelîl will make a statement to the media in due course. What we can disclose is his story of heroism and self-sacrifice for the Kurdish people.
Throughout his time in Kurdistan he had a positive impact on my peoples lives though his humility and kindness to everyone he met. He was taken from us in a heroic assault on ISIS positions in a small village near Shingal. His squad of 8 fighters were in a truck which had broken down and it was critical that they dislodge ISIS from their positions so they pushed on fearlessly with little regard for the own safety. They where massively outnumbered and outgunned but fearless in the face of this as they knew another ISIS death meant saving the lives of countless civilians. He was a fearless and exceptional soldier as well a great man.
Please keep his family and loved ones in your prayers and remember him and his heroic actions, which saved his comrades. He has given his life in the line of duty for his brothers in arms and for humanity in riding this world of the greatest evil of the 21st century. ISIS.
Long live the resistance of the YPG/YPJ and long live the memory of Heval bagok serhed!! Kurdish People will never forget you and you will live in our heart forever . ” The Lions Of Rojava
Rest in peace Christian soldier …
Sydney Morning Herald