As many as 30 British-born jihadists are now believed to have died fighting for Islamic State and other terror groups in war torn Syria, analysts estimate.
The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR), which monitors the activities of British extremists on social media, says that it is aware of at least 24 deaths. However, senior researcher Shiraz Maher said that due to difficulties obtaining information, the real number is “almost certainly higher”.
The Telegraph reports that among those who have died is Ifthekar Jaman, who was 23 at the time of his death and had described his experience in Syria as “five-star jihad”. His parents were arrested on Tuesday as part of coordinated raids by anti-terror police in London and Hampshire, and later bailed.
Others who have died include Abdullah Deghayes, whose father described him as a martyr and said that his two other sons were also out in Syria fighting jihad.
Mr Maher said: “The increasing reports of deaths will not dissuade people from going because they regard it as martyrdom and a victory.
“It is the ultimate prize for these jihadists and those around them celebrate their death.”
He added that those who have died are referred to as “green birds” by their friends, a reference to passages in the Koran that speak of martyrs living in paradise in the hearts of green birds.
Raffaello Pantucci of the Royal United Services Institute told the Telegraph: “The narrative for why people are going out there changes and evolves over time.
“If you are going out there to fight and are motivated by the idea of jihad then you are not going to be put off by the deaths, some might even be inspired by them.
“There will be very few of these people who are going out there who do not think that being killing is a possibility but they are young and have that sense of immortality and worry less about death.
“The emergence of Isil and the idea of creating an Islamic state and where there is much more of a focus on jihad will be a further encouragement for some.”