British national killed in Syria

Syrian rebels in Idlib, near where the man was killed. Observers have suggested he was working with the rebels. Picture: AFP
Syrian rebels in Idlib, near where the man was killed. Observers have suggested he was working with the rebels. Picture: AFP
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A BRITISH national has been killed in Syria, the Foreign Office confirmed last night, as intense fighting in the country continued.

The man, an American woman and another westerner were said to have died while taking photographs of military positions in Idlib province, near the Turkish border.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which opposes president Bashar al-

Assad’s regime, suggested the trio were working with rebels.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We understand that a British national has been killed in Syria. Their family have been informed and we are providing consular assistance.”

Britain has withdrawn all diplomats from Syria amid the escalating bloodshed. The attack is said to have happened on Wednesday, the same day a British doctor was killed in Idlib province.

Isa Abdur Rahman, 26, a graduate of Imperial College London, who had travelled to the country to treat injured civilians, died when a makeshift hospital was shelled.

Fighting has been raging in Syria with the international community still at loggerheads over how to resolve the crisis.

Yesterday, Syrian troops attacked a convoy trying to evacuate the wounded from a town near the border with Lebanon, killing at least seven people, according to reports. That came as rebels infiltrated the besieged area to fight government forces backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, activists said.

The battle for the town of Qusair has exposed Hezbollah’s growing role in the Syrian conflict, which has killed more than 70,000 over the past two years.

The Shiite militant group, fighting in Syria alongside president Assad’s troops, initially tried to play down its involvement but abandoned the attempt after dozens of its fighters were killed in the Qusair area and buried at large funerals in Lebanon.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said yesterday’s attack in Qusair also wounded “tens of people.” Qusair-based activist Hadi Abdullah said it killed nine and wounded about 80.

Mr Abdullah said he was with the convoy evacuating scores of wounded when troops started firing shells and machine guns. “Women and children jumped out of the cars and started running in fear,” Mr Abdullah said.

Along with Hezbollah, Russia has also remained a staunch Assad ally in the conflict. Yesterday, Russia’s MiG aircraft maker announced plans to sign a new agreement to ship at least ten fighter jets to Syria, a move that comes amid international criticism of earlier Russian weapons deals with the regime.

Hours after the Russian announcement, the US and Germany lashed out at Moscow’s intentions to provide the Assad regime with an advanced air defense system, which they believe could prolong Syria’s civil war.