Nottingham

Kurds pay tribute to 'hero' Erik Scurfield on anniversary of death

Kostas Scurfield
Image caption Erik Konstandinos Scurfield has been called a hero for fighting with the Kurds

Kurds living in the UK gathered at the grave of a man they have hailed a hero after he died fighting against so-called Islamic State.

Erik Konstandinos "Kosta" Scurfield, 25, from Nottingham, was killed in March 2015 in Syria.

The former Royal Marine had been fighting with Kurdish armed units, YPG.

On Saturday, Mr Scurfield's family, Kurdish activists and former YPG fighters gathered at his grave to mark the two-year anniversary of his death.

Image caption Kurds from across Nottingham, Leicester and Northampton gathered by Mr Scurfield's grave in Nottingham

His father, Chris Scurfield, thanked the Kurdish community for their support: "It means such a lot to us.

"The Kurds are brave and deeply honourable people and I wish the British would support them more. They deserve our full recognition as they stand against Isis."

Houlia Mola, from the Nottingham Kurdish Solidarity Campaign, said: "Kosta gave his life defending humanity from fundamentalism and also trying to build a new reality in the Middle East with the Kurds.

"He is a hero in the eyes of the Kurds and all people believing in freedom and democracy."

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Mr Scurfield, was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire and grew up in Nottingham

Also at the memorial were the family of Aiden Aslin, a care worker from Newark, Nottinghamshire who spent 10 months fighting with the Kurds, and was arrested when he returned last year.

Since Mr Scurfield died, two other British men are also known to have died fighting in Syria with the Kurds - Dean Evans, 22, from Reading and Ryan Lock, 20, from Chichester.

The Foreign Office continues to advise against all travel to Syria.

Emma Vardy, BBC News

It is estimated dozens of western volunteers have travelled to Syria to join the Kurdish fight against so-called Islamic State.

Their stories leave many people back home questioning the attraction to this highly dangerous cause.

A search for adventure perhaps?

But many western volunteer fighters feel a deep connection to the Kurdish comradeship that runs through the YPG.

They are inspired to see that in the midst of this Middle Eastern conflict, the Kurds are fighting for values that Britain also believes in - freedom, democracy, equality.

This sense of solidarity with the Kurds is also felt by some families of British fighters in the UK.

Mr Scurfield's death shone a spotlight on the Kurdish struggle against IS and two years on, Kurdish people love him still.

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