World / Asia-Pacific

Australian man killed while fighting against IS in Syria

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-05-30 11:29

CANBERRA - An Australian man has reportedly been killed while fighting against Islamic State (IS) in Syria, local Kurdish forces said on Monday.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has been unable to confirm the death of 45-year-old Jamie Briggs as the government's limited presence in the Middle Eastern hotspot of Syria was limited, but Briggs' death was announced by the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG.

"Sadly another Australian volunteer who joined the YPG has died," the group posted to social media website Facebook.

DFAT told News Corp on Monday that it was extremely likely the news of Briggs' deathw as true, but it could not confirm the killing as the Australian government's reach in Syria was "extremely limited" and that any official information could take days or even weeks to filter through.

The DFAT spokesperson reiterated that Australians should not travel to Syria under any circumstances - even if it is to join the fight against IS, as the government would not be able to provide consular support to those in the region.

"The Australian government's capacity to confirm reports of deaths in Syria is extremely limited," a spokesperson from DFAT said.

"Due to the exceptionally dangerous security situation, DFAT is not able to provide consular assistance in Syria, which is listed as a 'do not travel' destination in DFAT's travel advice."

Briggs is the third Australian to have died fighting with the YPG since the government warned against joining foreign fighters in February 2015, after Reece Harding and Ashley Johnston were both killed while helping the Kurdish forces fight IS.

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