A BRITISH man who volunteered to fight for the Kurds against Islamic State has taken his own life, his father has said
Jamie Janson, the former great nephew of disgraced former politician John Profumo, was arrested after returning to the UK from Syria in May 2018.
His father Martin Janson, 72, confirmed his son had killed himself.
“My son Jamie took his own life at the age of 44,” he told the MailOnline.
“As a family we are all devastated and do not want to talk about the circumstances. It is tragic and something we are all trying to deal with.
“There will be a funeral at the family home in the north of Scotland next week.”
In an emotional tribute on Facebook, close friend Matty Marungamits said he took his life just days before he was due to turn 44.
“He was sick for such a long time, at least that’s over now,” she said.
She described him as being a “brilliant”, “funny” and “clever” man who loved children and animals.
Jamie decided to join Kurdish forces in Syria after working for an aid agency near Mosul.
Prior to that he had volunteered in refugee camps in Calais and Greece.
His family only discovered he was fighting jihadis after he sent them a picture of himself wearing fatigues and holding a Kalashnikov
Macer Gifford, another former British volunteer with the Syrian Kurds, paid tribute to him.
“Jamie was passionately committed and came from a long background of activist work,” he told Kurdistan24.
He said he went to the Kurdish enclave in Syria, known as Rojava, “because of his beliefs and he got a lot of respect from the Kurds”.
Who are the YPG and YPJ?
YPG or People’s Protection Units are a Kurdish militia that has become the main part of the Syrian Democratic Forces.
The US-backed SDF has recently cleared ISIS out of the final area it controlled, in the small town of Baghouz, by the Euphrates River in north-eastern Syria.
Fighting alongside them are the YPJ – Women’s Protection Units – for whom Azad has nothing but admiration saying they “fight, kill and die as hard as the men, as ISIS can attest”.
The YPG is regarded as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, which says it is tied to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) guerrillas.
When the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, the Kurds in the north of the country established an enclave with the YPG as their self-defence militia.
Many local non-Kurds as well as volunteers from abroad also fought for the YPG.
ISIS began its terrifying advance in June 2014, sending the well-equipped Iraqi army into headlong retreat.
The YPG in Syria also face an onslaught from the jihadis.
At the time they were one of the few forces offering effective resistance to ISIS.
In September of that year ISIS, by that time a sophisticated, proficient and well-resourced army equipped with captured tanks and artillery laid siege to the town of Kobani.
Kobani was defended by a small force of Kurds with “weapons generally older than we were” but in a heroic stand they first stemmed the ISIS tide and then defeated them.
Thomas McClure, a Syria-based researcher at the Rojava Information Center, said there has been a pattern of foreign YPG volunteers taking their own lives.
“Mr. Janson is not the first international volunteer to have committed suicide in such circumstances, and his personal experiences are part of a wider pattern,” he said.
“War inevitably enacts a heavy psychological toll.”
A Twitter account belonging to the Kurdish Solidarity Campaign wrote: “Thinking of the heroic YPG volunteer Jamie Janson who died just last week.
“Jamie will be remembered as a hero by the Kurdish people forever for valiantly defending the revolution in Rojava and the liberation of northern Syria from ISIS fascists #WorldSuicidePreventionDay.”
Jamie apparently joined the Kurds after volunteering with an aid agency in Iraq[/caption]
He was arrested after his return from Syria in 2018[/caption]
YOU'RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
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