Sussex

Grieving father's plea to Syria sons

Abdullah Deghayes Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Abdullah Deghayes is believed to have left the UK in January

The father of a teenager who "died in battle" in Syria has urged his other two sons to leave the country and return home.

Abdullah Deghayes, 18, from Brighton, went to Syria with his two brothers to fight a "dictator" and was not a terrorist, Abubaker Deghayes said.

He said his other sons, Jaffar, 16, and 20-year-old Amer, were still in Syria.

Speaking to BBC Sussex, he said: "We've lost Abdullah. Please, please come home."

'Joined aid convoy'

He added: "My eldest son went first, he used to follow what was happening in Syria on social media and the news and was very affected by it.

"He first went on an aid convoy and from then he joined the fight against Assad. Somehow his brothers followed him without the consent of his parents."

Over the past three years, more than 100,000 Syrians have lost their lives in the escalating conflict between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and those opposed to his rule.

The bloody internal conflict has destroyed whole neighbourhoods and forced more than nine million people from their homes.

Mr Deghayes said he followed his sons to Turkey but they had left with their passports. He tried to persuade them not to go go Syria.

"They were very adamant and insisted - they wouldn't listen to me.

"You can't tie him up or force him [to stay]."

Mr Deghayes said: "I can see the novelty of helping the oppressed but I want my children to come back."

He said his sons could be more effective helping the Syrians from the UK and urged them to come home.

"If you can hear me, please come home. We've lost Abdullah already," he said.

"You do not need to fight, you can help from Britain. Please, please come home."

About 400 Britons are thought to have gone to Syria in the past two years, with an estimated 20 having died.

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