The body of a British chef who died fighting the Islamic State in Syria is to be returned to the UK a pro-Kurdish rights group has confirmed. Ryan Lock, 20, from Chichester, died on 21 December last year while fighting near Raqqa alongside Kurdish forces.
Lock's body is believed to have been held by the Islamic State before it was recovered and taken to north-east Syria for an official autopsy, the BBC reported.
Lock, who is believed to have travelled to Syria in August for a six-month stint, died two months before he was due to come home.
The former chef from west Sussex who had no previous military experience reportedly told family and friends he was going on holiday to Turkey but then crossed over into war-torn Syria.
Lock joined the People's Defence Units (YPG) as one of many foreign volunteers on 4 September. He was given the nom de guerre "Berxwedan Givara" or "Resistance Guevara", after Argentinian revolutionary Che Guevara.
Kurdish rights activists have said Lock's body is in the process of being repatriated to the UK. A pro-Kurdish rights activist wrote on KurdishQuestion.com: "Ryan's remains are now awaiting repatriation to the UK.
"It is hoped that with the support of the Kurdistan regional government authorities and the UK consulate in Erbil that the process will be able to proceed without delay, although due to the political complexities of the region we expect the process may take some time," he added.
Lock's father, Jon, said in a statement according to the Guardian: "Ryan was a very caring and loving boy who would do anything to help anyone. He had a heart of gold. We ask for privacy to allow our family to grieve."
In a letter, seen by the newspaper, the YPG said: "Ryan joined actively in our offensive against the terror threat that Isis caused upon Rojava, Kurdistan. Here, on the dark hours of 21 December 2016, we lost our brave companion Ryan and four other fighters in Jaeber village.
"Ryan was not only a fighter providing additional force to our struggle. In fact, with his experience and knowledge he has been an example for younger fighters. While he has reached a vast amount of achievement up in our frontlines, Ryan has served the purpose of a very important bridge between us, the Kurds of Rojava. He crossed continents for the destiny of our people and humanity."
Lock becomes the third Briton to be killed fighting the terrorists. Former Royal Marine Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, 25, from Barnsley, was the first fatality when a missile hit his combat vehicle in March 2015 near the Syrian town of Tel Hamis.
On 21 July 2016, a second British citizen, 22-year-old dairy farmer Dean Carl Evans, was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade in the city of Manbij, northern Syria.
A Foreign Office spokesperson said: "The UK has advised for some time against all travel to Syria. As all UK consular services there are suspended, it is extremely difficult to confirm the status and whereabouts of British nationals in Syria. Anyone who does travel to these areas, for whatever reason, is putting themselves in considerable danger."