A Finnish man died in fighting between Syrian rebel and government forces in Aleppo in late June, Turun Sanomat reports on Thursday. He had converted to Islam as an adult. His mother was Finnish and his father from Namibia in south-west Africa, with which Finland has close ties.
The man reportedly went to Syria last summer and joined a rebel unit along with some other Finnish citizens. He had already undergone his compulsory military conscription in Finland and expressed the desire to study Islam abroad. The man was accompanied by his Finnish wife, who had a baby two weeks before the man’s death.
The Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo) declined to deny or confirm the report. But Chief Inspector Tuomas Portaankorva notes that dozens of people from Finland have gone to Syria to fight or provide humanitarian aid in the last few years. He voiced concern that entire families are heading into the warzone.
A year and a half ago, a Swedish man who had lived in Espoo, Finland, died in similar circumstances in Syria.
According to the UN, some 100,000 people have been killed in Syria in the past three years.