Father urges govt to help bring dead daughter back from Syria

LONDON: The father of a British woman killed fighting alongside Kurdish forces in Syria during a Turkish-led offensive has accused the government of lacking “proactivity” in helping repatriate her body.

A picture made available by the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) Press office on March 19, 2018, shows British YPJ fighter Anna Campbell posing for a picture at an undisclosed location. (AFP pic)

Anna Campbell, 27, was killed last week during shelling by Turkey’s armed forces in the Afrin region, the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) confirmed Monday.

She is thought to be the first British woman killed fighting alongside the Kurdish militia in Syria.

Dirk Campbell, her father, said Britain’s foreign ministry had so far shown a “total lack of proactivity” in helping him try to repatriate her corpse from the war-torn country.

“They’ve said this is a political issue,” he told AFP on Tuesday. “I’ve said, yes, is that not your job?

“You’ve got a British consulate, (an) embassy in Ankara, you can ask your ambassador… for a ceasefire so we can reclaim Anna’s body.”

Campbell said the ministry had pledged to respond to him, but he had not heard anything back.

“They’re being completely on the back foot on this,” he said, adding the British government appeared to “regard all foreign combatants as potential security threats”.

Campbell added he was now not hopeful of getting his daughter’s body back “any time soon”.

Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office did not respond to a request for comment.

Turkey and allied Syrian rebels began their assault on the Afrin region on January 20, seizing most of the canton before capturing its urban centre on Sunday.

They swept into the city after the fighters from the YPJ and its male counterpart, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), appeared to withdraw.

Nisrin Abdallah, a YPJ spokeswoman, said Campbell, from Lewes in southern England, joined the group in May 2017.

“After the attack on Afrin, she insisted on being sent there,” Abdallah told AFP on Monday.

“We discussed with her a lot, but she gave us an ultimatum: either I quit the revolution or I go to Afrin,” she added.

Dirk Campbell, who said he last spoke to his daughter two months ago by phone, decribed her as “very single-minded, very focused” and possessing a “terrific sense of justice”.

“She had hundreds of friends, all of whom are suffering her loss today,” he added.