A 32 year old man, named Haukur Hilmarsson, has become the first Icelander to lose his life in the Syrian conflict. He was killed while fighting alongside the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces during Turkey’s invasion of Afrin, Syria.
Haukur Hilmarsson is reported to have been killed by a Turkish bombardment alongside two Arab fighters in ‘Badina–Dimilya front’ on February 24.
He reportedly arrived in Syria in July 2017 through the Greek anarchist group Revolutionary Union for International Solidarity (RUIS) who are part of the internationalist group, the International Freedom Battalion, supporting the Kurdish YPG forces. Going by the nom de guerre of Şahin Hüseyni, he fought in the Martyr Serkan Battalion of the MLKP, a Turkish communist organisation. He participated in the taking of Raqqa from ISIL. He later joined the battle in Afrin against Turkish-backed jihadists.
Haukur was a well known activist in Iceland. He was very active in the enviromentalist struggle against hydro electric dams in the Central Highlands. During the 2008–2009 Icelandic fincancial crisis protests, known as the ‘Pots and Pans Revolution,” he climbed on top of the Parliament building and hoisted the flag of the Bónus supermarket. Bónus supermarket is owned by Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson who is said to have responsibility in the financial crisis. Since 2009, Haukur spent much time in Greece working with refugees and participating in other struggles.
It is believed that Haukur is the third foreign YPG fighter to be killed in Afrin, the other two being Spanish and French.