Portugese YPG fighter Mario Nunes in Rojava. File photo
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KOBANE – Mario Nunes, also known as Heval Kendal, allegedly committed suicide on 3 May in Rojava [Syria’s Kurdish region], where he used to fight alongside with the Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) against ISIS.
Nunes, 22, was the first Portuguese to travel to Syria to join the Kurdish forces in the fight against the Islamic State radical group (ISIS). In early 2015, he spent four months in Rojava. In January this year, Nunes returned as a volunteer for the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
His death was officially communicated to his family, according to the Portuguese newspaper Sabado.
Speaking to ARA News, YPG fighter Macer Gifford said: “I want to honour the life of another brother in the YPG. Mario (Heval Kendal) died a few weeks ago but there was a delay in announcing his death while his family was contacted.”
“Mario and I were in the same unit last year and this was his second trip to Rojava. He fought bravely in Tel Temir and more recently in Shaddadi,” he said. “Portugal and the Kurds have lost an amazing person and comrade.”
Gifford told ARA News that the Portuguese fighter joined the YPG “out of disgust of the ISIS actions”.
“He was very dedicated to fairness and democracy. He hated the so called Islamic State for what they were doing to Syria and the wider Middle East. He felt like he had to do something himself to make a difference,” he added.
“He was a popular guy here. He was quick to make you laugh and was always very supportive to the people around him,” he added.
The newspaper Sabado reported that YPG leaders confirmed that the Portuguese fighter committed suicide after fighting for more than 3 months.
The death has raised doubts among his family members. Mário Nunes was born on January 23, 1994, in Portalegre. He was a soldier in the Portuguese army before heading to Rojava to join the war on ISIS.
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg
Source: ARA News