A British man has reportedly been killed in Syria after travelling to the war-torn country to fight so-called Islamic State, Kurdish activists have said.
Ryan Lock, 20, from Chichester, West Sussex, is said to have died during an offensive by anti-IS forces in a bid to retake the northern city of Raqqa, considered to be the terrorist group's capital.
He is the the third Briton to die fighting with the People’s Defence Units (YPG), the Kurdish military force fighting in northern Syria.
Mr Lock, a trained chef who had no military background, is understood to have left to fight with the Kurdish forces last August after telling his family he was going to Turkey on holiday.
In a message on Facebook last year, he wrote: “I’m on my way to Rojava. I lied about going to Turkey. I’m sorry I didn’t tell anyone. I love all of you and I will be back in six months.”
The People's Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish military force, reportedly told Mr Lock's family that he had died along with four other fighters on December 21.
“Ryan was a very caring and loving boy who would do anything to help anyone. He had a heart of gold,” Mr Lock’s father, Jon, wrote in a statement to the Guardian.
In a statement, 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.”
The headteacher of his former school said Mr Lock was a "well-liked pupil".
Julia Vincent wrote in a statement: "We are very sorry and saddened to hear the news about Ryan Lock. He was a well-liked pupil during his time at Warblington School.
"Our thoughts go out to his friends and family at this time."
Up to 50 Britons are thought to have gone to Syria to fight against the terror group, according to a study by the counter-terrorism Royal United Services Institute think-tank.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: "The UK has advised for some time against all travel to Syria.
"Anyone who does travel to these areas, for whatever reason, is putting themselves in danger."