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4 January 2017, 12:46
The family of a former Havant schoolboy who was killed fighting against the Islamic State terror group in Syria have spoken of their loss of a ``loving and caring family member''.
Ryan Lock, 20, is said to have died during an offensive by anti-IS forces in a bid to retake the northern city of Raqqa, considered to be the terrorist group's capital.
The former chef with no previous military experience, who was from Chichester, had joined Kurdish militia after telling his family he was going on holiday to Turkey in August.
The People's Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish military force, have told Mr Lock's family he had died along with four other fighters on 21 December.
In a statement released through Hampshire police, his family said:
``The Lock family are devastated by the recent news they have received but have no comment to make.
``The family politely ask that the media respect their privacy and leave them in peace to grieve.
``The family have provided a photograph of Ryan as they would like to remember him; a loving and caring family member.''
Mr Lock's father, Jon, told The Guardian his son was a ``very caring and loving boy who would do anything to help anyone'' and ``had a heart of gold''.
The YPG said he had ``crossed continents for the destiny of our people and humanity''.
Images posted on Facebook in October and November appear to show Mr Lock holding an AK-47 and wearing military gear.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said:
``The UK has advised for some time against all travel to Syria.
``As all UK consular services there are suspended, it is extremely difficult to confirm the status and whereabouts of British nationals in Syria.
``Anyone who does travel to these areas, for whatever reason, is putting themselves in considerable danger.''
Ryan was a former student at Warblington School in Havant. In a statement, headteacher Julia Vincent said:
“We are very sorry and saddened to hear the news about Ryan Lock. “He was a well-liked pupil during his time at Warblington School. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family at this time.”