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Hero's welcome for Briton who died fighting IS in Syria

The body of a Briton who died after travelling to Syria to fight Islamic State militants alongside Kurdish forces arrived back at Heathrow Airport to a hero's welcome.

Dozens of people, including members of the Kurdish community, held roses and framed pictures of Ryan Lock, 20, as his body was repatriated to the UK.

Mr Lock, from Chichester, West Sussex, died in an offensive by anti-IS forces in a bid to retake the northern city of Raqqa, considered to be the terrorist group's de facto capital.

Former chef Mr Lock, who had no previous military experience, joined Kurdish militia after telling his family he was going on holiday to Turkey in August.

The People's Defence Units (YPG), a Kurdish military force, told Mr Lock's family he died along with other fighters last December 21.

Then later it publicly emerged that he turned the gun on himself to avoid falling captive to IS and being held as a propaganda tool.

A military ceremony attended by dozens of pro-Kurdish fighters, representatives from political parties and NGOs was held in Rojava last month.

Photographs of the ceremony showed a coffin displaying a photograph of Mr Lock, who went to school in Havant, Hampshire, and a Union flag surrounded by armed militia.

As the body of Mr Lock - who used the nom de guerre Berxwedan Givara - arrived in the UK, tributes were paid to him.

Supporters of the YPJ female-fighting force said his "memory will forever live on in our struggle for the freedom of Syria and our hope for change in the whole world".

And on Twitter, one wrote: "Rest in paradise Ryan Lock. You will remain a hero in Kurdish history."

YPG general command member Mihyedin Xirki had previously said Mr Lock was a "martyr" who died "putting up a brave fight".

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all travel to Syria. Mr Lock was the third British man to die fighting IS with the Kurds in Syria.

Dean Evans, 22, a dairy farmer from Reading, Berkshire, died in the city of Manbij in July last year and former Royal Marine Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, 25, from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, died in the northern village of Tel Khuzela in March 2015.

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