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Thousands raised in memory of first UK woman killed fighting with Kurdish forces

The money raised will go towards helping victims of the conflict.

Thousands of pounds have been donated in memory of the first British woman to die fighting alongside Kurdish forces in


A fundraising page was set up by a friend of Anna Campbell’s family after it emerged she had died in Afrin while fighting
with the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ).

The money will be raised to help support victims of the conflict and is expected to be donated to Kurdish organisations contributing to the cause, her family said.

Dirk and Rose Campbell, father and sister of Anna Campbell at a vigil in her home town of Lewes, East Sussex (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The 26-year-old, of Lewes, East Sussex, is the eighth Briton so far to have died in Syria while working alongside Kurdish militia.

It is understood she was killed by a Turkish air strike.

Family friend Humphrey Drummond, 57, of London, who set up the page, said: “I have known Anna since she was young. My wife was great friends with her late mother Adrienne. Anna was a great activist and always determined. I was always very impressed by that.

“I wanted to do something to help her cause and her family so suggested the idea to her sister Sophia.

“I’ve been amazed at the response – it’s quite emotional seeing how many people have already contributed.”

Anna Campbell,of Lewes, died fighting with the Kurdish armed unit in Syria (YPJ/PA)

Ms Campbell trained as a blacksmith and a plumber but, realising her passion for politics, gave up work and flew out to Syria to join the all-female brigade of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which has around 50,000 Kurdish men and women fighting against IS in northern Syria.

But it recently turned its attention to defending Afrin from Turkish forces after the conflict between Kurdish groups and Turkey became inflamed in January.

Over the weekend, Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the country’s military had captured Afrin town centre which was previously controlled by the YPG.

On Monday Ms Campbell’s younger sister Rose, 24, told Press Association she would be remembered as “fearless and noble” ahead of a vigil which took place in her honour.

Her father Dirk Campbell, 67, described his daughter as someone who was always led by her conscience.

In a YPJ video Ms Campbell can be seen referring to herself by her nom de guerre of Helin Qerecox and describing herself as “happy and proud” to join friends in the fight against fascism.

Speaking to Press Association from Syria, a commander for the cause known as Mijdar Firaz, who mentored Ms Campbell for four months before she was killed, said: “The day before she went to Afrin she said ‘I’m not looking to die but if it’s necessary to die in this struggle them I’m ready. I’m proud to die. If we don’t die then we will be together again.’

“We promise we will never forget her.”

To donate, visit


From Belfast Telegraph