FAMILY and friends of a Southsea man who died in Syria at the weekend have held a vigil.
Ifthekar Jaman, 23, who had worked for Sky in Portsmouth, travelled to the war-torn country earlier in the year to join a group fighting the Syrian government.
Around 30 people turned up to the vigil in Guildhall Square last night to remember Ifthekar.
Flowers were laid on the steps as the rain poured on the few dozen people who had turned up to pay their respects, including close relatives.
A number of his former colleagues were at the gathering.
Work friend Peter Caufield described Ifthekar as ‘very devout’ and ‘always very polite’.
Mr Caufield said: ‘I knew him for 18 months to two years. He was a lovely bloke. He was very down to earth, just a regular guy. There was nothing untoward but he was always very passionate about his faith.
‘He was always very devout and always very polite. He would always engage in religious or philosophical debates. He would always ask other people what they thought.’
Asked if he thought Ifthekar had made the right decision to go to Syria to fight the government, he said: ‘That is what he believed in. I think the fact he went to fight for his beliefs is a heroic cause.
‘Until people find out he’s a Muslim, people think he’s a hero. I think that is the best way to put it.’
Youmna Khalid, 25, who also worked with Ifthekar, said she had been told he had been helping civilians in the war-torn country before his death.
‘He always wanted to help everybody,’ she said.
‘Before he died, he was helping civilians and he actually got attacked by Bashar al Assad’s troops while he was helping them.
‘We just found out he was there from the news. We want to talk about him as the person we knew. He had nothing to do with terrorism, he saw the video of the chemical attack that al Assad did. He was very touched by that – he wanted to help people.
‘Even before he lost his life, he was helping civilians. The way he died, I am glad he was protecting people before he died.
‘If he was in the British Army and went to Syria there would be a parade.
‘He was a funny guy, he was a fan of the Fast and Furious films. He used to draw tattoo designs for everyone at work. He was a regular guy.’