British Volunteer Fighting ISIS Killed While Clearing Landmines in Liberated Raqqa

A British volunteer fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group has been killed in Syria.

Oliver Hall, 24, was said to have been clearing mines with members of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia group when one exploded near him. The incident occurred in Raqqa, formerly an ISIS stronghold in Syria which was recently liberated from the group by US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

It is believed Hall left his home in Portsmouth to fight ISIS in August.

Mark Campbell, co-chair of the Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign (KSC) confirmed Hall's death and said in a statement: "It is with deep regret and sorrow that I can confirm via Kurdish sources in Syria that Ollie Hall, a UK national who traveled to Syria in August to help in the liberation of the Isis city of Raqqa with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), fell on 25 November from an explosion of ordnance left by Daesh [ISIS] after the liberation of the city. Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of Ollie at this time."

Kevin Benton, an ex-soldier and British volunteer who met Hall in Syria, told the BBC: "He wasn't a soldier before he came to Syria, but he was professional and was really keen to learn. He was a very popular guy, everyone liked him.

"He wanted to be at the front, and wanted to be right where the action was, and he wasn't scared to go. He will be sadly missed."

Ollie Hall
Ollie Hall photographed November 8 in Raqqa, according to the caption on this Facebook image upload. Hall was fighting with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Raqqa. Ollie Hall/Facebook

Hall is thought to be the seventh British volunteer to die while fighting ISIS in Syria. In October, Jac Holmes, a YPG volunteer from Bournemouth, died in Raqqa just days after the city was declared liberated.

"Jac wanted to see the annihilation of ISIS, which he accomplished in Raqqa, and stayed afterwards to help clear the area of landmines so it would be safe for civilians," KSC said in a statement.

The UK Foreign Office said in a statement: "The UK has advised for some time against all travel to Syria. As all UK consular services are suspended in Syria, it is extremely difficult to confirm the whereabouts and status of British nationals in the country."

ISIS used to control large swathes of Syria and Iraq, but the group is progressively losing territories and fighters due to multinational coalitions set up to drive the militants out.

The organization lost both its strongholds, Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq, this year. However, the militants are still present in some areas of the two countries and the fight against the group is ongoing.