A British IT worker who left home to fight ISIS has died while clearing landmines in Syria

Jac Holmes in Raqqa, Syria, in August 2017.

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Jac Holmes in Raqqa, Syria, in August 2017.
source
Sky News

    A 24-year-old British man fighting ISIS in Syria has been killed clearing away landmines. He used to work in IT and painting back home in Bournemouth. His mother said she was hoping “he’d be home for Christmas.”

A Briton who left his job in IT to fight the Islamic State has been killed in Raqqa, one of the terrorist group’s strongholds in Syria.

Jac Holmes, 24, died while clearing away landmines in the Syrian city to make the area safe for civilians, the BBC reported on Tuesday. The news comes after US-backed forces retook Raqqa from ISIS militants.

The former IT worker from Bournemouth left home to fight ISIS alongside the Kurdish militia, also known as the YPG, in 2015. He received no military training before joining the group.

Holmes’ friends and family learned of his death on Monday evening, the BBC said. His mother, Angie Biannin, said her son “loved being a soldier” and that she was hoping he would “be home for Christmas.” She said:

“He loved what he was doing there, he loved being a soldier. He had the courage of his convictions. He was just a boy when he left the UK, a little bit lost. He told me he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life. But by going out there, he found something that he was good at and that he loved.

“He stuck by his convictions because he wanted to be there and he wanted to see the end of Raqqa and to see the end of the caliphate. That was a moment in history, and he wanted to be part of it.

“We thought with any luck he’d be home for Christmas. It had been so tough since he had been away but I was always 100% behind him.”

Holmes on his phone in Raqqa in August.

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Holmes on his phone in Raqqa in August.
source
Sky News

In 2015, Holmes was featured in Channel 4 documentary “Frontline Fighting: The Brits Battling Isis.” He said he joined the fight because he didn’t want to be “sat here fixing people’s computers or painting people’s walls” while ISIS, or Daesh, committed atrocities.

“I’m just another guy down in Bournemouth,” he said. “Another young 22-year-old just like everyone else. Spent some time in IT, painting and decorating.

“It just makes you think: What the f***k am I doing, there are people over there getting blown to pieces everyday, cutting off hands, cutting off heads, forcing people to be sex slaves. I’m just sat here fixing people’s computers or painting people’s walls.

“Fighting is the simplest thing you can do. I’ve got no issue with killing these Daesh guys who are trying to kill me.”

Holmes in 2015.

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Holmes in 2015.
source
Channel 4

In addition to appearing in Channel 4’s documentary, Holmes also regularly posted live videos of himself on the battlefield. This was his last public Facebook video:

Ok live from raqqa. Quiet night. Ask me whatever.

Posted by JacHolmes on Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Ok live from raqqa. Quiet night. Ask me whatever.

JacHolmes

The UK Foreign Office said anyone leaving Britain to fight in Syria, and who engages in activities that flout British terrorism laws, could be prosecuted upon their return.

Holmes told the BBC in 2015 he was aware of his risk of prosecution, saying: “You just have to hope that our justice system works in the correct way.”