British man who joined Kurdish forces to fight Islamic State died in Raqqa blast

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A coroner says 22-year-old Luke Rutter’s injuries came from either an improvised explosive device or a rocket exploding nearby.

Luke Rutter died in Raqqa in July after joining Kurdish fighters in March

A British man who joined Kurdish forces in Syria died from blast injuries “likely” to have been caused by Islamic State, an inquest has found.

Luke Rutter, from Wirral, Merseyside, died in Raqqa on 5 July after joining the Kurdistan People’s Protection Units (YPG) after travelling to the country without the knowledge of the UK authorities.

Coroner Andre Rebello at the Gerard Majella Courthouse in Liverpool recorded a narrative conclusion and said it was “more likely than not” that the 22-year-old was killed by IS.

The inquest, attended by Mr Rutter’s family, also heard the cause of death was recorded as blast injuries in a post-mortem examination.

The verdict comes after the YPG fighter apologised for lying to his family about going to fight Islamic State in a video message released after his death.


He said: “I lied to people I care about to come here. I said that I was going somewhere else, I didn’t.

“I apologise massively for that.

“Apart from that I don’t regret my decision and I hope that you respect it.”

Mr Rebello said Mr Rutter’s injuries came from either an improvised explosive device or a rocket exploding nearby.

He said the man was hit with projectiles and shrapnel with “immediate fatal consequences”.

The coroner said: “He travelled to Syria unbeknown to UK authorities and volunteered to fight with the YPG, a Kurdish people’s protection unit, against Daesh, a recognised terrorist group.

“It is more likely that not he was killed by Daesh terrorists in this conflict.”

Mr Rebello expressed his condolences to the family and added: “For a child to die in these circumstances must be particularly hard.”

Mr Rutter, who also went by the name Soro Zinar, is thought to have joined the YPG in Syria in March.

A statement posted on its Facebook page following the death said: “He was martyred on 5 July 2017 after battling bravely in the terrorist group’s so-called capital. The people of Rojava will not forget his sacrifice.”

Other Britons to be killed fighting IS in the past year include sniper Jac Holmes, 24, press officer Mehmet Aksoy, 32, and former chef Ryan Lock, 20, who shot himself to avoid capture.

Dairy farmer Dean Evans, 22, died last year and former Royal Marine Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, 25, died in 2015.

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