MARY FITZGERALD, Foreign Affairs Correspondent
A teenager from Navan who joined rebels in Syria last year without his parents’ knowledge has been killed as fighting between the Assad regime and opposition forces intensifies.
The circumstances surrounding the death of 16-year-old Shamseddin Gaidan last week remain unclear given the difficulties of obtaining reliable information from inside the country. His father Ibrahim was informed of his son’s death in a phone call from Syria.
“We don’t know where or how he was killed and we don’t know where his body might be,” Mr Gaidan told The Irish Times. “It is very difficult to get any information. This confusion makes our grief much worse.”
Shamseddin moved to Ireland from Libya with his family in 2001. His father runs a halal grocery shop in Navan. The teenager spent his summer holidays in Libya last year and was supposed to fly back to Ireland via Istanbul in mid-August.
His family raised the alarm when he did not arrive in Dublin. They later learned he had crossed the Turkish border into Syria. “We heard nothing from him until one day someone called from Syria saying Shamseddin is here and he is helping the Syrian people,” said Mr Gaidan.