Syrian war reaches Britain as volunteers, not soldiers, die fighting ISIL

By Gareth Browne, The National

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Between 2007 and 2011 the small British town of Wootton Bassett came to a halt as the bodies of soldiers killed in Afghanistan passed through on the way home to their families. Several times a month church bells rang out, grieving relatives laid flowers atop vehicles carrying coffins and television pictures captured an uncomfortable reminder of the cost of war.

For a short moment on January 10, the British public were again confronted by images of men who died on a foreign field. This time it was not in Afghanistan, but Syria.

But some, while not directly critical of the foreign volunteers themselves, are fiercely critical of the YPG’s role.

“Since the creation of the Kurdish statelet in Syria in 2013, the YPG have run a deeply authoritarian regime that has crushed internal dissent in a fashion not too dissimilar from Bashar Al Assad’s Baathist regime. The media has been censored and schools have been turned into indoctrination centres,” says Kyle Orton, a research associate at The Henry Jackson Society, a British think tank launched in 2005 with the promotion of democracy and combating of extremism as its founding principles.

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