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The Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs is investigating reports that an Icelandic national was killed in a Turkish airstrike on the city of Afrin in Syria. The man is said to have been a foreign combatant with the Kurdish militia YPG, the People's Protection Unit. The Turkish military has been attacking Kurdish forces in Syria, attempting to push them from the border with Turkey.
Identity not officially confirmed
Icelandic media have not identified the man, but he was identified on Twitter as Haukur Hilmarsson, a 32 year old activist. The local newspaper Morgunblaðið reports that his family only learned of his death in media reports earlier today.
The journalist Mehmet Solmaz said on Twitter that Haukur was killed in an air strike on Afrin on February 24. According to Solmaz Haukur had joined the Kurdish People's Protection Unit (YPG) trough the Greek anarchist group Revolutionary Union for International Solidarity, RUIS. YPG has fought against the so-called "Islamic State" in Syria. According to the local news site Vísir Haukur is said to have participated in the battle for Raqqa, the "capital" of the so-called Islamic State.
Haukur is believed to be the third foreign YPG militant killed in Afrin. The others were a Spanish and a French national. It is believed that 100-200 foreign nationals have joined YPG. Most are Greek volunteers.
A well known activist
Haukur has been one of the most prominent radical activists in Iceland for more than a decade. He was very active in environmentalist struggle against hydro electric dams in the Central Highlands in first decade of the 21st century. In 2008 he became one of the best known activists of the Icelandic "Pots and Pans Revolution", the mass protests which broke out after the collapse of the Icelandic banking system.
On November 8 2008 Haukur climbed on top the house of Parliament to hoist the flag of the supermarket Bónus to the flagpole of Parliament. The symbolic protest became one of the most iconic acts of the protests of the winter 2008-9. Since 2009 Haukur has spent much time in Greece, where he has worked with refugees who are fleeing the war and humanitarian crisis in Syria as well as participating in various other struggles and radical action.
Icelander YPG militant Haukur Hilmarsson (32) announced killed in #OperationOliveBranch on Feb 24
He joined YPG's Turkish Marxist brethren MLKP trough Greek anarchist group RUIS. He is thought to be 3rd foreign YPG militant killed in Afrin. The others were a Spanish and a French pic.twitter.com/S8O8yVGv8z
— Mehmet Solmaz (@MhmtSlmz) March 6, 2018
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