British woman, 26, who joined all-female Kurdish unit fighting ISIS in Syria is killed after ‘her convoy is hit by a Turkish rocket’ during battle for Afrin

A British woman who left to join an all-female Kurdish brigade in their battle against ISIS has been killed in Syria.

Anna Campbell, from Lewes in East Sussex, died on March 15 in a Turkish missile strike while travelling in a convoy in the Kurdish enclave of Afrin.

The 26-year-old is the first British woman known to have died in Syria with the YPG or YPJ groups, which have around 50,000 Kurdish men and women fighting in northern Syria.

Her father confirmed her death this morning and said his daughter had known that she was risking her life fighting in the troubled region.

The qualified plumber travelled to Syria in May last year to help the Kurds, who were battling ISIS. But she reportedly left the fight against the terror group in Deir ez-Zor, to defend Afrin, which was being bombarded by Turkish forces attacking the Kurds along the northern Syrian border.

Turkey views the Kurdish forces in the enclave as terrorists and launched an offensive in the area on January 20.

Ms Campbell’s father, Dirk Campbell, told the BBC: ‘She wanted to create a better world and she would do everything in her power to do that.’

He added: ‘I told her of course that she was putting her life in danger, which she knew full well she was doing.

‘I feel I should have done more to persuade her to come back, but she was completely adamant.’

Mr Campbell told the BBC that he believed Kurdish comrades had tried to stop his privately educated daughter from travelling to war-torn Afrin.

He said: ‘With fair hair and blue eyes they knew she would stand out, but she dyed her hair black and persuaded them to let her go.

‘I contacted my MP Maria Caulfield as soon as I knew she was in danger from the Turkish bombardment. I emailed my MP and said my daughter is in danger, you have to get on to the Foreign Office and get them to put pressure on Turkey to stop.’

He added that she had wanted to join the group after learning of the Kurdish aim of creating a democratic society once ISIS had been driven out.

Anna Campbell is the eighth Briton to have been killed in Syria while working with Kurdish forces.

As news of her death emerged, YPJ commander and spokesperson Nesrin Abdullah said Ms Campbell had ‘insisted’ on leaving for Afrin.

He said: ‘Although we tried to keep her far from the frontlines, the attacks from the Turkish state were very heavy.’

In a statement to The Guardian, he added: ‘(Anna Campbell’s) martyrdom is a great loss to us because with her international soul, her revolutionary spirit, which demonstrated the power of women, she expressed her will in all her actions.

‘On behalf of the Women’s Defence Units YPJ, we express our deepest condolences to (her) family and we promise to follow the path she took up. We will represent her in the entirety of our struggles.’

Mark Campbell, co-chairman of the Kurdistan solidarity campaign, said Ms Campbell, who is no relation to him, was killed alongside two Kurdish women amid the air strikes.

Speaking to the Press Association, he said: ‘Anna is a woman who seemed to have more humanity in her little finger than the whole of the international community.’

He described Ms Campbell as an ‘inspiration’ and a ‘hero’.