The Department of Foreign Affairs says it’s aware of reports that a Canadian has died while fighting against ISIS in Syria.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, John Robert Gallagher was killed while fighting alongside the Syrian Democratic Forces against ISIS militants.
The organization said it was informed Gallagher died when an ISIS militant “detonated himself” during fighting in the al-Hool area of Syria. The report on his death didn’t say when he’d been killed.
On Gallagher’s Facebook page, a post purportedly by his mother, Valerie, said she received news of his death Wednesday.
“I have heard from representatives from the YPG in Syria (the Kurdish forces also known as People’s Protection Units) and in London, and it seems that John Robert was killed by a suicide bomber earlier today. I don’t have many details at this time,” the post says.
“He thought this was such an important fight, and he has always been a man of principle who believed very strongly in human rights and justice. I am very, very proud of him, and his sisters and I love him very much.”
Gallagher’s account said he was born in Wheatley, Ont., but lived in Calgary.
Gallagher previously served with the 2nd Battalion of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, according to a profile published in Maclean’s magazine last summer in which he spoke about his decision to fight in Syria.
Gallgher had also studied at York University in Toronto, according to the profile.
Canadian officials, meanwhile, warned about the perils of travelling to Syria to fight.
“Canadians travelling to Syria, including those who travel there to join local campaigns to fight alongside any party to the conflict, must do so at their own personal risk,” a Foreign affairs spokesman said in a statement to CBC News.
Canadian officials are still gathering information.