Ex-fighter in Syria launches medical mission to treat victims in Ukraine

Ex-fighter in Syria launches medical mission to treat victims in Ukraine

A British citizen who fought against ISIS in Syria has travelled to Ukraine as a medical volunteer as one of his captured former colleagues was paraded on Russian television.

Macer Gifford 35 year-old is setting up a supply base in Lviv and plans to travel across Ukraine treating victims of the war. Mr Gifford, who arrived at the Poland-Ukraine border at the weekend, says he has secured hundreds of first-aid kits from the US.

Mr Gifford spent three years fighting for the Kurdish militia known as the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, with Aiden Aslin 28 year-old who his family say was captured last week in Mariupol. Mr Aslin has been in the country for several years fighting for Ukrainian forces.

Mr Aslin and another British citizen, identified as Shaun Pinner, were shown on Russian state TV asking UK authorities to arrange a swap for Kremlin ally Viktor Medvedchuk, who is detained by Ukraine.

During his time in Syria, Mr Gifford secured hundreds of kits from the US and set up a medical unit in 2016 to train anti-ISIS fighters and distribute the packs.

The former financial trader, who fought in Raqqa in 2017, said he had received hundreds of applications to join the mission in Ukraine.

The mission marks a return to Ukraine for Mr Gifford who spent a frustrating week trying to set up medical training sessions for volunteer units when war broke out.

“The first vehicle and the first three volunteers will be deployed this week,” he said. “Hopefully more volunteers and more vehicles will arrive every week.”

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