More Portsmouth men go to fight in war-torn country

CONCERNED Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock
CONCERNED Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock

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MORE young men from Portsmouth are fighting in Syria, it emerged this weekend.

Police believe Mahdi Hassan, 19, who is understood to be a former pupil of St John’s College in Southsea, travelled to the Middle East in October to join a group fighting the Syrian government.

It has been reported that the fitness enthusiast is a friend of Ifthekar Jaman, 23, who had worked for Sky TV in Portsmouth and went to fight in the civil war until he was killed by a tank last weekend.

A cousin of Ifthekar is also understood to have joined the fighting.

Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock, who has been in contact with Mr Jaman’s family in Southsea, said he was aware that Mr Hassan had been in the Middle East for several weeks.

He told The News: ‘I am worried about all of them.

‘I don’t think any of them should be going out there.

‘If they want to help the situation in Syria, they could be raising humanitarian aid to go out there. I don’t think it should be seen as a good thing – young men putting their own lives on the line and causing worry for their families and community.’

According to Mr Hassan’s Facebook profile, he was once a pupil at St John’s College, an independent Catholic day and boarding school.

His profile also makes reference to Havant College in March this year and his intention to go to university.

Last week the Southsea school declined to speak reporters when asked about Mr Hassan.

He indicates on social media that he has also travelled to Chechnya and Yemen. His last Facebook and Twitter entries are dated October 8 and state in Arabic: ‘Thanks be to Allah.’

He refused to respond to requests from reporters for comment.

As reported in The News, around 30 people attended a vigil in Guildhall Square last week to remember Mr Jaman.

Flowers were laid on the steps and friends described him as a ‘lovely bloke’ who was devoted to his religion.

Mr Jaman was understood to be part of the Portsmouth Dawah Team, which has a stall in Commercial Road.

In May this year, Mr Jaman flew to Turkey and crossed the border into the war-torn region.

His parents, both from Bangladesh, own a takeaway curry restaurant in Portsmouth and he worked as a customer services assistant.