Soldier who joined Kurds has returned

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A serving British soldier reported to have left the country to join the Kurds in the fight against Islamic State has been found and is being returned to his unit, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has told MPs.

The teenager was said in some reports to be a member of the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment, which recruits heavily in the Portsmouth area.

Speaking during the regular Commons defence questions, Mr Fallon said: “The House may also want to know the soldier reported as missing last week has now been located and is being returned to his unit.”

It was reported on Thursday that the man, understood to be 19, left his base after telling his family he was joining the Kurdish peshmerga in their battle against the extremist group because “these guys need our help”.

When the news broke last week, a Ministry of Defence spokesman said only that the report was being looked into.

The soldier, who joined up at the age of 16 after leaving school, had reportedly been learning Arabic.

“I’ve gone to join the Kurds in Syria and Iraq,” he wrote to his family, according to Sky News. “I’m with other British people and a Canadian at the moment.

“I don’t know how to explain it to you but I really want and need to do this and I will be safe.”

In December it emerged that two former British soldiers had travelled to Syria to fight against IS after feeling “compelled” to take up arms following the murder of aid volunteer Alan Henning.

PWRR’s strong links with the Portsmouth area stem from one of its forerunners, the Hampshire Regiment.