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Mother of Briton killed fighting ISIS in Syria launches pro-Kurd campaign

By Rudaw 1/5/2015
Mother of Briton killed fighting ISIS in Syria launches pro-Kurd campaign
Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, kneeling at center. Photo: Twitter.

LONDON – The mother of Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, the first British volunteer to die fighting ISIS in Syria with the People's Protection Units (YPG), is now launching a campaign to support the Kurdish fighters.

Vasiliki Scurfield is starting a signature petition and urging people to use their voices on social media, believing that the Kurds fighting in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) “have been forgotten.”

“I want the Western governments and especially the British one to acknowledge the Kurds’ efforts and allow aid to get to all the people who need it,” she told Rudaw.

And precisely because her son “felt that the Kurds were isolated and ignored, he supported them,” she said.

“My son was very frustrated to see the brutality and the murder of so many innocent civilians,” she said. “He couldn't believe that the British were doing nothing. He felt he needed to help.”

In early March her son,  a former British marine, died from a mortar wound while fighting ISIS in the Hasaka province of Rojava.

Since he was small, Konstandinos “had a deep sense of justice and was a caring person,” his mother said.

“When he was a teenager he helped to raise thousands of pounds for a charity in Africa and then went there with his school and helped to plant trees and build a reservoir for water,” she explained.

When she heard of her son’s death, the mother had just returned from work and found many reporters at her door, one of them saying he had heard reports that her son had been killed in Syria.

”Then about an hour later the representative from the YPG in the UK phoned and confirmed the news,” she remembered. “There was shock, confusion, devastation. We were stunned, heartbroken.”

In the beginning Konstandinos tried to join the YPG and was stopped and questioned by police.

“But then they released him because he had not committed a crime and later he went again. This time successfully,” his mother said.

According to British law it can be punishable to fight against ISIS. Shilan Ozcelik, a British girl of Kurdish descent, has been arrested for trying to join the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to fight against the ISIS.

The PKK is regarded as a terrorist group by the European Union and United States.

Scurfield expressed her disappointment with the Ozcelik-case, calling it “unnecessarily harsh” and “ridiculous.”

She stressed that the YPG is not listed as a terrorist organization in Great Britain. In addition, she believes that the PKK should be delisted “if it can continue to work towards reconciliation.”

Since 2013, the PKK has been in peace negotiations with the Turkish government after a three-decade guerrilla war for greater rights for the country’s large Kurdish population.

“Britain has made peace with the IRA, and is making peace with Iran. Why not the PKK?“ Scurfield asked.

Many foreign fighters have traveled to Syria and neighboring Iraq to fight with Kurdish militias battling ISIS. The militant Sunni group includes thousands of foreign fighters from Europe and elsewhere in the Middle East.

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