Gold Coast man Reece Harding killed fighting ISIS
A YOUNG Gold Coast man fighting with Kurdish forces against Isis has been reportedly killed, less than two months after he joined the battle.
Described as a "beloved brother who came from far away to do what had to be done," 23-year-old Reece Harding reportedly died on June 27 when he stepped on a land mine during night operations with the YPG (People's Protection Units) in north-eastern Syria.
His death was announced in a post on the Lions of Rojava Facebook page, accompanied by photographs showing the man purported to be Mr Harding in combat gear carrying a Kalashnikov, standing with his unit.
His father Keith Harding told the ABC he had received a message on Monday telling him to call an overseas number. When he did he was told his son had been killed.
Mr Harding said he was trying to comprehend the situation.
"Numbness, disbelief that it's happening," he said.
"You're scouting the internet trying to look for things, watching every news [story], every article to see anything ... that's going on.
"It's been consuming our lives."
At the time, the YPG were engaged in fierce battles on the outskirts of Hassaka after Islamic State launched an assault on the city.
Mr Harding is the second Australian to die fighting with the YPG forces in Syria.
Ashley Johnston who was killed in the battle between the YPG and ISIS in the city of Tel Hamis near the Syria-Iraq border on February 24.
The full tribute to Reece Harding by The Lions of Rojava
Today we pray for our beloved brother who came from far away to do what had to be done!
Our deep condolences go out to his family, friends and comrades.
It was Saturday the 27th at 10pm when our Australian warrior Reece Harding- nom de guerre Heval Bagok Australi- stepped on a mine and died in combat.
He was in the Sabotage battalion conducting night operations when a fire fight broke out and our Lion stepped on a mine which killed him instantaneously. Five other warriors were injured and are in the hospital at this moment.
Heval Bagok Australi joined the YPG on the 04th of May, not even two months passed and he is now dead. Killed by the cowardly tactics of ISIS.
Everybody in his unit praised him for his courage and said that he was hard to match. A man who stood up for his beliefs and therefor joined the fight with the brave warriors of the YPG.
"He turned to me before going into the fight and bumped fist as if to say we are in this together." One of his comrades of the Sabotage battalion recalled.
He is the second Australian Lion that gave his life so that the people in Rojava can live their lives in peace.
There are no words that can value the sacrifice of Heval Bagok, but there are actions that can be taken which can honour him.
His whole unit swore revenge for his death and will leave no stone unturned until those filthy ISIS rats are exterminated.
"I have his sawn off shotgun and will use it to avenge him" said his Australian comrade Heval Amed adding that Heval Bagok took it from an ISIS scumbag he fought days before.
The people of Rojava will hold his name up high for the generations to come. He will stay alive in the minds and hearts of the Kurdish people for all eternity.
His bravery and kindness will flourish in the faces of the children of Rojava which one day will play without fear and will look up to Heval Bagok Australi as the warrior who's sacrifice made this possible.
May God bless our Lion Reece Harding- nom de guerre Heval Bagok Australi!
May God bless his family and the Australian people for their sacrifice!
Rest in Peace brave warrior, you will never be forgotten!
The Lions of Rojava