A former British chef who died fighting the so-called Islamic State in Syria reportedly killed himself to avoid being taken hostage and used as a propaganda tool.
Ryan Lock, 20, joined Kurdish militia, the YPG, after telling his family he was going on holiday to Turkey in August.
Lock, from Chichester, West Sussex, died on December 21 during an offensive by anti-IS forces in a bid to retake the northern city of Raqqa, considered to be the terrorist group’s capital.
The YPG said that the “trace of a gunshot wound was found under the chin”, suggesting suicide, the BBC reported.
Lock’s body is said to have arrived in Kurd-controlled territory on Tuesday and was received during a military ceremony by pro-Kurdish fighters.
Photos of the ceremony showed a coffin displaying a photograph of Lock and a Union flag surrounded by armed militia.
A statement from Lock’s father, Jon, said the family was “grateful to the YPG for bringing him home”.
“On behalf of the family, since we heard the devastating news of Ryan, it’s been pretty tough, especially the difficulties surrounding the repatriation,” he said.
Mark Campbell, a Kurdish rights campaigner, said on Facebook: “UK YPG volunteer Ryan Lock’s body passed over the border of Rojava to KRG (Kurdish Regional Government) region with military honours today (Tuesday) to begin his journey home to his family and friends for burial in the UK.
“Our thoughts today are very much with his mother, father and whole family at this difficult time and very much hope that the repatriation process in Erbil will be speedy so the family can have Ryan home, as soon as possible, for burial.”
Five fighters were believed to have come under siege by IS militants in the village of Ja’bar. They reportedly showed “considerable resistance” before they were killed.
Examinations of the bodies after they were retrieved showed the British fighter “committed suicide in order not to fall captive with Isis”.
Campbell told BBC South: “There are no words to describe the bravery required to take such an action.
“Isis were robbed of a predictable macabre propaganda opportunity by Ryan’s action.
“I personally believe he deserves the very highest of military honours for such outstanding bravery in the face of such a barbaric enemy.”
The YPG said Lock had “crossed continents for the destiny of our people and humanity”.
Lock had no previous military experience and went to school in Havant, Hampshire.
The Foreign Office advises against travel to Syria.