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Ryan Lock killed in northern Syria during battle to recapture Raqqa

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Ryan Lock

A British man who flew to Syria to earlier to fight ISIS was killed during an intense gun battle just before Christmas, pro-Kurdish media reported.

Ryan Lock, a 20-year-old from Chichester, died during an offensive by anti-Islamic State forces near the city of Raqqa in northern Syria on December 21.

Ryan Lock had no previous military background. He flew to Rojava to join the Kurdish People’s Defence Units (YPG) last August and had planned to spend 6 months there according to his family.

He told them that he was going to Turkey on holiday, but shortly after he published Facebook status where he admitted he was actually flying to Syria to join Kurdish People’s Defence Units in Rojava.

He wrote: ‘I’m on my way to Rojava. I lied about going to Turkey. I am sorry I didn’t tell anyone. I love all of you and I will be back in six months.’

During his time in Rojava, Lock usually posted various images showing him in camouflage gear armed with an assault rifle.

In a statement to the Guardian, Ryan Lock’s father, Jon, said: ‘Ryan was a very caring and loving boy who would do any thing to help anyone. He had a heart of gold. We ask for privacy to allow our family to grieve.’

The YPG also offered condolences to Lock’s family after his death on December 21.

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War zone

Israel Destroys Syrian Air Defence Battery After Alleged ‘Shelling’

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The IDF has cited its right to “thwart hostilities towards Israeli population”. The incident comes as the latest in a string of tit-for-tat attacks between Damascus and Tel Aviv that remain in a state of war for decades.
The Israeli Air Force has announced that its military jets destroyed an anti-aircraft battery east of the Syrian capital of Damascus on October 16. The incident has not yet been confirmed by the Syrian government.

According to the IDF, the “retaliatory” move came after Israeli jets had been targeted with an anti-aircraft missile launched from the Syrian territory. The military’s spokesperson has said that no hits had been confirmed. The jets were carrying out a routine reconnaissance mission over Lebanon.

While the IDF has blamed the Syrian government for the incident, it has yet again stated it “maintains its ability to thwart hostilities against Israeli civilians.” According to one of the heads of the Israeli military’s press service, Tel Aviv has also notified Russia that has a military presence Syria of the airstrike in real time.

“The Russians were notified in real time, or maybe just before [the attack],” the military official said. However, the IDF said that it “has no intention to destabilize the situation.”

In September Israeli jets attacked the Syrian army in the Hama province, however the IDF refused to comment on the incident. Israel and Syria have exchanged numerous tit-for-tat attacks over the disputed area of Golan Hights, seized by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967.

The move has been repeatedly condemned by the international community. According to the UN resolution adopted in 1981, the Golan Heights were declared as illegally occupied by Israel. In 2008, the United Nations reitterated its calls for Tel Aviv to return the ‘annexed territory’ — something that, according to the incumbent PM Benyamin Netanyahu, “Israel will never do”.

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Syrian Democratic Forces Begin Final Assault on ISIS in Raqqa

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The US-backed Syrian rebels have announced the final stage of their operation to free the former so-called ISIS “capital,” Raqqa, from terrorists.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said that they have started the final assault on Raqqa after the evacuation of civilians and Daesh terrorists, who agreed to leave the city.

“The battle will continue until the whole city is clean of the terrorists who refused to surrender, including the foreign fighters,” a statement by the SDF said on Sunday.

Earlier, the US-led coalition announced that an agreement has been reached to evacuate civilians from Raqqa. After a convoy with evacuees left the former “capital” of ISIS terrorist group, the final battle with remaining terrorists began. Reuters reported citing a militia spokesman that 275 Daesh fighters from Syria left Raqqa, according to the agreement, while 200-300 militants mostly of foreign origin remained in the city.

“We still expect there to be difficult fighting,” US-led coalition’s spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon said.

A source in the Syrian Democratic Forces that are conducting the Raqqa operation on the ground with the coalition’s support, told Sputnik on Friday that the city is set to be liberated from militants within 2-3 days. The source added that the strength of the terrorists is running out; their defeats in Raqqa have undermined their morale and prevent them from fighting back. According to SDF representatives, the Syrian rebels currently control about 90 percent of Raqqa.

Raqqa has been under ISIS control since 2013. On November 6, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, also consisting of Arab, Assyrian and Turkmen fighters, among others, announced the start of the military operation to liberate the Syrian city of Raqqa from Daesh terrorist group with the assistance of the US-led coalition’s airstrikes. Raqqa’s Old City was freed from Daesh last month.

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