11/04/2015 08:50 EST | Updated 11/04/2015 09:59 EST

John Robert Gallagher, Canadian Fighting Islamic State, Killed In Suicide Attack: Report


TORONTO — The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says a Canadian fighting the Islamic State group in Syria has been killed in a suicide attack.

The observatory says in a posting on its website that John Robert Gallagher was killed in the attack by an IS fighter on Wednesday at a farm near Dalhu village in the predominantly Kurdish province of Hassakeh that borders Iraq.

Maclean's magazine says Gallagher is a former infantryman with the 2nd Battalion of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, who went into Syria in July to fight with a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia known as the YPG.

A posting on Gallagher's Facebook page that says it was written by his mother, Valerie, says she heard from "representatives from the YPG in Syria and in London and it seems that John Robert was killed by a suicide bomber."

The posting says Gallagher "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."

A Foreign Affairs spokesman said in an email Wednesday night that the department was aware of "reports of the death of a Canadian citizen in Syria," adding that Canadian consular officials were working to gather additional information.

The U.S.-led coalition has been targeting the Islamic State group with airstrikes since September 2014, killing 12,000 extremists without weakening the group.

American officials announced late last month that up to 50 special operations troops will be sent to assist Kurdish and Arab forces in northern Syria.

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