At least two Britons are among around 15 Westerners fighting in Syria alongside Kurdish guerrillas against the Islamic State group (IS), according to British media.
The Observer newspaper reported that Jamie Read, from North Lanarkshire in Scotland, and James Hughes, from Reading in central England, had been recruited by former US soldier Jordan Matson to join the “The Lions Of Rojava”, a Kurdish movement vowing to “send terrorists to hell and save humanity”.
Read told the BBC World Service that he was in Syria to help the Kurdish people, and denied reports that the fighters were mercenaries.
Both Read and Hughes, who completed three tours of Afghanistan, are reported to be in Rojava, northern Syria, fighting IS militants trying to take over the embattled city of Kobani.
Around 500 Britons are believed to be fighting on the side of the jihadists.
US fighter Matson last month told the BBC that there were around 15 Western fighters, but that there were “hundreds” of other veterans considering joining.
The group’s Facebook page shows photographs of what it says are new recruits from the Netherlands and Germany, while Canadian newspapers have reported that one of their former soldiers, Dillon Hillier, had also joined the fight against IS.
The British government is currently grappling with what to do with jihadist fighters returning from Syria and Iraq, and said it would deal with those returning from fighting alongside Kurdish forces, known as People’s Protection Units, on a case-by-case basis.