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Father of teen killed in Syria 'proud' of son

The father of a British teenager who died fighting in Syria has told ITV News he is "proud" that his son "sacrificed his own life for the sake of others".

Speaking from his home in Brighton, Abubaker Deghayes said his son was a "nice person" with many friends, although he was "a bit naughty, like any other teenager".

Read: Father hails British teen killed in Syria as a 'martyr'

Father hails Brit teen killed in Syria as 'martyr'

The father of a British teenager killed in Syria has described him as a "martyr" and tried to convince him not to fight in the war-torn country.

Abdullah Deghayes, 18, from Brighton, whose uncle is a former Guantanamo detainee, is believed to have died in April, after leaving the UK in January.

Mr Deghayes insisted his sons were not "terrorists" but travelled to Syria to defend "those who are weak" after seeing videos of the atrocities online.

His brothers Jafar, 16, and 20-year-old Amer also travelled to Syria. Speaking in Brighton, Mr Deghayes said:

As I far as I know Abdullah went to Syria without my consent, nor his mother's consent, to fight Syrians against the dictator Bashar al-Assad.

– Mr Deghayes

He was killed in a battle. His brother, who is also there, is injured. The third brother who is also there is OK. He is fine.

I never encouraged them, nor anybody, as far as I know. They went of their own free will. I hope he is in peace now.

– Mr Deghayes

Asked whether he believed Abdullah was a martyr, Mr Deghayes replied: "Of course I think, as a Muslim, that my son is a martyr. Anyone who dies for a just cause is a martyr."

Read more: British teen, 18, killed during conflict in Syria

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Teen killed in Syria nephew of ex-Guantanamo detainee

The British teenager killed in Syria is the nephew of a former Guantanamo Bay detainee.

Abdullah Deghayes, 18, from Brighton, East Sussex, was killed in Syria. Credit: ITV Meridian

Abdullah Deghayes, 18, from Brighton, East Sussex, is the nephew of Omar, who was held in the United States as an enemy combatant at the detention centre between 2002 and 2007 after he was arrested in Pakistan.

Read: Family of killed British teen didn't know he was in Syria

Family of killed British teen didn't know he was in Syria

The family of a British teenager who was killed in Syria said they had no idea he was in the war-torn country.

Abubaker Deghayes, the father of 18-year-old Abdullah, said he found out about his son's death on Facebook.

At the moment we do not have details of his death. All that we know is that he was killed in Syria. The family is mourning.

We are all in mourning. I'm trying to find out what's happened. At the moment we don't have any details. We found out on Facebook.

I hope he died for a noble cause, trying to help Syria. I need to find out. I might go and travel to see.

He was a youngster who didn't communicate a lot. With parents, once they grow, they don't tell you much about their lives.

– His father Abubaker Deghayes

Read: Tributes pour in for 18-year-old Briton killed in Syria

Tributes pour in for 18-year-old Briton killed in Syria

Tributes to British teenager Abdullah Deghayes, who was killed in Syria, have been left on social media.

Friend Louis Tierney wrote on Facebook: "Miss you like mad! Love you mate forever in my heart xxxxx."

Other friends have taken to Twitter:

Wisq0ytk_normal

R.I.P this is such a shock, can not get my head around it. Everyone's gonna miss you Abdullah Deghayes. much love xxx

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said, "We are aware of the death of a British national and are urgently looking in to it."

More: British teen, 18, killed during a conflict in Syria

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Father's search for food for his starving family

A father has spoken about the desperate search for food to help feed his children. One of his daughters, Marwa, died two months ago due to malnutrition as her father tried to find the food that might have saved her:

Doctors told us that we must feed Marwa sweets and sugar but I can't afford it, it is too expensive and hard to find so I brought them saccharine. Safa and Marwa is twin, Marwa died two months ago because of malnutrition, she was two years and half, I couldn't buy milk for my children, I have no work.

She was fine but I cannot afford to get her milk, I could only make them barely flour with water, this only thing we could feed them with, she started to get weaker till she died.

– Abu Qasem

Now he is watching as his youngest daughter slowly wastes away due to malnutrition. Born healthy Wala'a was taken to doctors when she started to struggle to breathe and now has to be fed through a tube to get the little amount of formula the family can get into her tiny body.

Wala was well at the beginning, now she is not. I lose my children one after another.

Their mother was breast feeding them but now she cannot, we only eat one meal a day and the only thing we eat is barely and olives.

'Tragedy of Wala'a will repeat' if the crisis does not end

The story of three-month-old Wala'a, who has been left malnourished after her family struggled to find food in a besieged area of Damascus in not an isolated case according to UNICEF.

Read more: Starving girl footage reveals horrors of Syrian conflict

Maria Calivis, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa told ITV News:

"It's a tragedy and any one child reduced to this condition, its both a tradegy and a failure of our system.

"Any case like that of little Wala'a is no doubt a tradedy, a tragedy for the family and a tragedy that can repeat itself over and over again, if the crisis does not end."

Speaking of the siege in Homs, she added: "The first tragedy that all families speak about is about the loss, the insecurity of food, the access to food and to survive they often had to go to their neighbour, their neighbours and neighbours that had fled in order to search for food.

"And sometimes even when that was not enough, they resorted to plants, to feeding themselves in whatever way they possible."

Syrian mother watches as a second daughter starves

Wala'a's doctors believe that if she survives she will be left with brain damage and could be paralysed due to malnutrition.

Her mother says she was healthy when she was first born three months ago:

Malnutrition and lack of milk and sugar because we cannot afford to bring milk and sugar and she became like this. She was better when she was born , she was laughing and crying

I tell all mothers to take care of their children and feed them well, this is the second child I have and they are dying infront of my eyes and I cannot do anything.

– Um Qasem

Wala'a's elder sister Marwa died just two months ago, leaving behind her twin Safa.

Marwa was good and moving and talking and slowly she started getting weaker day by day and melting in front of our eyes and she stopped eating and then she passed away.

– Um Qasem
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