Sussex

Anna Campbell: Dad calls for Turkey to return bodies

Anna Campbell
Image caption Anna Campbell was fighting with the all-female Kurdish armed unit, the YPJ in Afrin in Syria

The father of a British woman who was killed in Syria is asking the UK government to help recover her body.

Anna Campbell, 26, from Lewes in East Sussex, died on 15 March in Afrin, which had been under bombardment by Turkish forces.

Dirk Campbell and the mother of Icelandic national, Haukur Hilmarrson who was also killed in the area, have written to their governments.

They say Turkey is breaching the Geneva Convention by failing to retrieve them.

The families said Article 15 of the convention states parties to a conflict have a duty to "search for the dead and prevent their being despoiled".

In their open letter to the UK and Iceland governments Mr Campbell, and Eve Hauksdóttir, said: "Apparently, Turkish authorities have not yet fulfilled this obligation.

"The thought of your child's dead body lying on the ground is bad enough but in addition, the Turkish forces and their allies in Afrin are known to have violated international law regarding appropriate treatment of the dead.

"The Red Cross has not been able to search for bodies either."

Mr Campbell told the BBC: "No bodies have been retrieved from the battle zone and are lying out in the open.

"I am hoping the British government can pressurise the Turks."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Turkish forces stepped up their offensive in Afrin in January

Ms Campbell travelled to Syria in May 2017 to help the Kurds, who were fighting against the Islamic State group.

Her friends told the BBC she had been killed by Turkish airstrikes while fighting with the all-female Kurdish armed unit, the YPJ.

Turkish media reported Mr Hilmarsson had been killed in Afrin on 24 February.

The Icelandic Monitor reported: "His mother Eva Hauksdóttir [wrote] on her website, "It looks as if my Haukur is dead."

Both parents are asking their governments "to confront Turkish authorities on their obligations to the dead".

The Foreign Office said: "We are in contact with Anna's family. As we have no consular presence in Syria, our ability to help is extremely limited.

"The UK advises against all travel to Syria. Anybody who travels to Syria against our advice is putting themselves at considerable risk, particularly if they travel to join an armed group."

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