Westerners fighting for the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq continue to die at the front. One of the latest is sixteen-year-old Jaffar Deghayes, who hailed from England’s resort city, Brighton. Young Jaffar paid with his life at Aleppo for his devotion to extremist Islam. His father, Abukaber Deghayes said of the loss, “His death is a testament to his faith.” Jaffar is one of several residents of Great Britain who have died in the sustained fighting by the Islamic State to oust Syrian dictator Bashr al-Assad and to impose Islamic control over Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere. At least 25 British nationals have died this year in Syria and Iraq.
 
Omar Deghayes, Jaffar’s uncle, wrote on his Facebook page, “As you grieve know that we are remembering you and honoring [sic] the memory of a sincere and truthful young man (deceased). May the peace which comes from Allah accept yours.” Uncle Omar spent nearly six years incarcerated at the U.S. prison at Guantánamo but was later released because he was found to be a victim of mistaken identity.
 
Young Jaffar Deghayes happened to be the youngest of British nationals who have fallen for the Muslim cause in the Levant. His parents immigrated to Britain from Bangladesh. He had joined his brothers, Abdullah and Amer, as well as a friend named Ibrahim Kamara. The youngsters had joined the terrorist group known as  Jabhat al-Nusra, which had operated in concert with the Al Qaeda terrorist network in Syria. Jaffar’s brother Abdullah died in combat in 2013 while fighting in Latakia, while their friend Kamara (19) is believed to have died in September of this year during an American bombing raid. 
 
Jaffar’s death came just days after the death of two other jihadis. Medhi Hassan and Manurnur Rahman, who belonged to a gang known as the 'Pompey Lads' that were at the epicenter of Islamic fundamentalism ‘Made in England.’ These deaths add up to four of the six members of the Pompey Lads of Portsmouth who had joined the Islamic State. They had frequented the Jami mosque in Portsmouth, which is known to recruit young men from the Bangladeshi community.
 
One of the surviving members of the Pompey Lads, Mashudur Choudhury, was arrested this year at London’s Gatwick Airport  and jailed for his alleged membership in a terrorist organization. The other surviving member, Assad Uzzaman, is believed to continue fighting near Kobane.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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