British ISIS supporter dies in prison in north-eastern Syria

Ishak Mostefaoui reportedly was killed trying to escape custody

Isis, Tomorrow. The Lost Souls of Mosul - Iraq, Mosul: Mohammad. Photo by Alessio Romenzi
Powered by automated translation

A man who left his home in England six years ago to join ISIS has died in a Syrian prison.

Sources said Ishak Mostefaoui, 27, from London, was killed while attempting to escape the custody of the US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

There are an estimated 40 Britons held by the SDF, and Mostefaoui was the first ISIS follower from the UK to die in the militia’s custody.

His death and the details of it have not been confirmed officially.

One source said that Mostefauoi died during a riot in a jail in Hassakeh, north-eastern Syria, which houses ISIS prisoners. Riots are common in the prison – which was formerly a school – and there were several this year.

Mostefaoui was suspected to have been radicalised as a student in 2013 before travelling to Syria in 2014. His citizenship was revoked in 2018.

The 27-year-old studied at the University of Westminster in London and travelled to the Middle East with fellow student Zakariyya Elogbani. As many as nine men who studied at the university – including Mohammed Emwazi, the propagandist and murderer  – went to Syria to join ISIS.

Mostefaoui was captured in Syria by the SDF last year and held in Hassakeh prison.

His Algerian family moved to London when he was five. He was described a popular, football loving-boy and his family said he was brought up in a home that was opposed to radicalism.

The British Foreign Office advises against all travel to Syria.

Of the roughly 900 people who left the UK for Syria to join Islamist terrorist groups, 20 per cent have died, 40 per cent have returned to Britain, and 40 per cent are still in the Middle East, British officials said.