UK
19/02/2015 12:44 GMT | Updated 19/02/2015 14:00 GMT

Serving British Soldier Reportedly Travelled To Middle East To Fight Islamic State

Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Previously unreleased picture dated 19/09/14 of a soldier from 1 Yorks wearing a Tactical Engagement System (TES) as thousands of soldiers have begun the world's biggest game of laser quest as they take part in exercise Prarie Storm at the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) in Calgary, Canada.

A serving British soldier is believed to have travelled to the Middle East to fight against Islamic State. The man, understood to be 19, reportedly left his base after telling his family he was joining the Kurdish peshmerga in their battle against the extremist group because "these guys need our help".

He told relatives that he was leaving two days ago and that he is intending to spend a year in the region, according to Sky News. A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "We are aware of these reports and are looking into them."

The soldier, who joined up at the age of 16 after leaving school, had reportedly been learning Arabic. "I've gone to join the Kurds in Syria and Iraq," he wrote to his family, according to Sky News. "I'm with other British people and a Canadian at the moment. I don't know how to explain it to you but I really want and need to do this and I will be safe."

In December it emerged that two former British soldiers had travelled to Syria to fight against IS after feeling "compelled" to take up arms following the murder of aid volunteer Alan Henning.

It is understood that the serving soldier is not currently considered to be Awol.