A British man who travelled to Syria to fight IS has reportedly been found dead aged 42.
Jamie Janson, from London, was reportedly the great-nephew of former Conservative War Secretary John Profumo and the grandson of World-War-I pilot Lord Balfour.
He left Britain to fight with the YPG (Kurdish People’s Protection Units) where he took on the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Deir ez-Zor in Syria before turning his attention to Turkish-backed militants in Afrin in March 2018.
Video credit: CEN / InfoCenter Afrin Resistanc
He returned to the UK a few months later where he was arrested on suspicion of terror offences before he was later released.
Following his release, he continued to campaign on a wealth of Syrian and Kurdish issues, writing newspaper articles for national newspapers and appearing in social media clips online. It included calls for a no-fly zone in Syria to stop bomb attacks from countries including Russia.
Local media reports claim that he has recently been found dead. The cause of death was not given but it was revealed the death was not being treated as suspicious.
A Twitter account belonging to the Kurdish Solidarity Campaign hinted at suicide when they wrote: “Thinking of the heroic YPG volunteer Jamie Janson who died just last week. Jamie will be remembered as a hero by the Kurdish people forever for valiantly defending the revolution in Rojava and the liberation of northern Syria from ISIS fascists #WorldSuicidePreventionDay.”
And Macer Gifford, a fellow former British volunteer with Syrian Kurdish forces, told local media that Janson died from suicide.
In a tribute he said: “Jamie was passionately committed and came from a long background of activist work.”
He continued to support the Kurdish struggle on his return to the UK, but “sadly killed himself”.
Rojava Information Centre researcher Thomas McClure told local media: “Mr Janson is not the first international volunteer to have committed suicide in such circumstances, and his personal experiences are part of a wider pattern.
McClure added that many volunteers report a high level of intimacy, warmth and companionship in their work.
He added: “In contrast, upon return to their home countries, volunteers like Mr Janson and many others have faced inadequate institutional support and social isolation, and in several cases arrest, police harassment, detention and court cases on terrorism charges.
“Both here (in northern Syria) and abroad, work needs to be done to establish institutional and social standards of care and responsibility to support ex-combatants, refugees, and all those experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts.”
It is currently unclear where he was found dead.
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Story By: Conor Sheils, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
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