A young British chef was killed in northern Syria days before Christmas while fighting ISIS with Kurdish forces.
In August, Ryan Lock of Chichester told his parents that he was going to Turkey for a vacation, but he went to Syria instead – despite having no military background – and joined the People’s Protection Unit (YPG), a Kurdish fighting force, the Independent reported.
People who knew Lock best described him as an adventure-seeker who wanted to “help his fellow man and fight for humanity’s sake.” He used his cooking skills to feed others, volunteers said.
“Among his quiet, loving and caring traits, he would always wish to try new things,” and strived to make the lives of those around him “more enjoyable,” his school friend, Harry Kirby, said.
Days before his departure, Lock helped his father, Jon Lock, who runs a pig roast business, cater a wedding. His family has been left “completely grief-stricken” by his death on Dec. 21.
Jon Lock described his son as having a “heart of gold” who was a “caring and loving boy who would do anything to help anyone.”
Lock was driven to protect others, which could provide an explanation as to why he ventured to the dangers of northern Syria.
“His love for protecting others was always a dominant characteristic of his,” said Lock’s school friend Harry Austin.
American volunteer fighter Sean Murphy, who met Lock in Syria, said: “What was clear is he came to simply help his fellow man and fight for humanity’s sake, and just be an awesome and helpful persona and friend in general.”
Lock reportedly posted to Facebook in August that he “lied” about traveling to Turkey and that he’d be back within six months. Photos posted to the social media site show him wearing a camouflage uniform and holding an assault-style rifle.
The YPG said Lock had “crossed continents for the destiny of our people and humanity.”
London-based Kurdish rights campaigner Mark Campbell is working with Lock’s family to help retrieve his body for burial.