Fighters pay tribute to Aussie’s courage
ASHLEY Dyball has vowed to use a sawn- off shotgun Reece Harding took from an “ISIS scumbag” to avenge the death of his fellow Queenslander in Syria.
Mr Dyball, from Brisbane, has become an anti- ISIS ( also know as IS) poster boy for the Kurdish militants fighting Islamic State after joining the YPG group in May, just days after Mr Harding.
They were members of the so- called Sabotage battalion, comprising foreign fighters known as the Lions of Rojava.
In a tribute to Mr Harding posted on Facebook yesterday, the group said: “Everyone in his unit praised him for his courage and said he was hard to match.
“A man who stood up for his beliefs and therefore joined the fight with the brave warriors of the YPG ( People’s Protection Units).”
According to the post, Mr Dyball – who along with Mr Harding had a $ 150,000 IS bounty on his head – had armed himself with Mr Harding’s weapon.
“I have his sawn- off shotgun and will use it to avenge him,’’ Mr Dyball said, adding that Mr Harding had taken the firearm from “an ISIS scumbag he fought days before”.
“Rest in peace my brother. Was a honour to be by your side every step of the way, your shotgun will be put to use I promise you,’’ Mr Dyball said.
While the Lions of Rojava refused to reveal where Mr Dyball had been deployed since joining the YPG on May 8, it’s understood the unit had been fighting near Syria’s northeastern province of Ha- sakah. Since Islamic State launched its offensive on the area – which borders Turkey – on June 25, at least 70 government soldiers and 48 IS fighters have been killed and more than 100,000 people have been displaced.
Kurdish People’s Protection Units recently foiled an IS sui- cide car bomb attack and captured three villages from Islamic State fighters.
Mr Dyball, 23, yesterday posted under his Facebook alias Mitchell Scott a photo of what appears to be smoke rising from a recent air strike with: “When Obama comes to play”.
One of his growing band of followers posted: “Stay safe man and give them hell!”, while another said: “Insane bro”.
But terrorism expert Professor Greg Barton from Melbourne’s Monash University warned Mr Dyball – who also posted horrific images from a supposed ISIS massacre – against sharing updates on social media.
“ISIS is very tech- savvy and people can be easily tracked down from something that might be in the background ( of a photo),’’ Professor Barton said.
“My advice to him would be to keep his head down and keep a low profile.”
He urged young Australians to consider undertaking humanitarian aid work rather than taking up arms in the Middle East.
Reece Harding, who died fighting Islamic State in Syria.
Ashley Dyball has become the poster boy for the foreign fighter group Lions of Rojava.