Volunteers who are willing to take up the fight against Islamic State
Volunteers who are willing to take up the fight against Islamic State Facebook

A group of British war veterans have been described as "absolute heroes" for taking up the fight against Islamic State alongside Kurdish forces in Syria.

Afghan war veteran James Hughes, a former infantryman, from Reading and Jamie Read, who has trained with the French army, are thought to be defending the Kurdish border town of Kobani.

They wanted to help the Kurds in their plight against IS (formerly known as Isis) and denied claims they were mercenaries, Graham Penrose, their spokesman said.

lions of rojava

The pair have joined up with US volunteer, Jordan Matson, who set up a Facebook fighter recruitment page entitled: The Lions of Rojava to encourage volunteers to fight against IS. It states would-be volunteers only need a valid passport and money for a ticket to Syria, adding "body armour can be purchased in Iraq".

Penrose wrote on Facebook: "The definition of a mercenary is a person who takes part in an armed conflict who is not a national or a party to the conflict and is 'motivated to take part in the hostilities by the desire for private gain -- that is clearly not the case for those of you who know or have met James Hughes and Jamie Read.

"They are volunteers and brave men whose conscience has motivated them to apply their skills to assist innocent people who have been left to their own devices in the face of terror from IS and to report their experiences so that Western European audiences can understand the imperative of assisting the Kurdish nation resist IS.

"Be sure to check if it has an export law attached to it and do not bring any firearms or you may cause trouble for yourself," it added.