Anna Campbell

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Anna Montgomery Campbell
Nickname(s)Hêlîn Qereçox
Died15 March 2018
Afrin Canton, Syria
AllegianceFlag of Rojava.svg Democratic Federation of Northern Syria
Service/branchYPJ Flag.svg Women's Protection Units (YPJ)

Anna Montgomery Campbell also known as Hêlîn Qereçox (b. 1991 - d March 15, 2018 (aged 26–27)) was a British feminist, anarchist and prison abolition activist[1] from Lewes who fought with the Kurdish Women's Protection Units (YPJ) in Syria.[2] She was the first British woman to die fighting for the Kurdish forces in Rojava, Northern Syria.[3]

She was educated at the independent St Mary's Hall, Brighton, then went to study at Sheffield University before moving to Bristol, where she worked as a plumber. [4] She was the daughter of progressive rock musician Mont Campbell. [5]

She was involved with many political movements, including the 2010 United Kingdom student protests, the Hunt Saboteurs Association, Anarchist Black Cross and other anarchist and abolitionist organisations.[1] She fought with the YPJ in their attack on the ISIS stronghold in Deir ez-Zor.

She was also involved in the YPJ's activities in support of women's rights in Kurdistan. According to the New York Times, she was moved by the defense of "an autonomous, mostly Kurdish region in northern Syria, known as Rojava, whose leaders advocate a secular, democratic and egalitarian politics, with equal rights for women".[6] She was killed during the Turkish military operation in Afrin.[2][7]

The YPJ have announced: "Our British comrade Hêlîn Qereçox (Anna Campbell) has become the symbol of all women after resisting against fascism in Afrin to create a free world. We promise to fulfill Şehîd (martyr) Hêlîn’s struggle and honour her memory in our fight for freedom."

Following the announcement of Campbell's death, her father started a campaign to recover her body, which could not be located by aid organisations until a ceasefire was in place in the area.[8] Dirk Campbell accused the British government of 'a total lack of proactivity' in helping to recover her body.[9] The body had not been recovered from the battlefield as of mid-May 2018.[10]

In response to Campbell's death, protesters from the Bristol Kurdish Solidarity Network (BKSN) and friends of Campbell blocked the offices of BAE Systems in Bristol. Activists accuse the company of supplying weapons to Turkey which have been used against civilians in Kurdish controlled Northern Syria.[11]


  1. ^ a b "Rest in Power Anna". Empty Cages Collective ( Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b Blake, Matt (2018-03-19). "British woman killed fighting Turkish forces in Afrin". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-03-30.
  3. ^ Blake, Matt (2018-03-23). "'Thousands could die': female British fighter urges support for Syria's Kurds". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-03-27.
  4. ^ Vardy, Emma (2018-03-19). "Briton killed fighting with Kurdish unit". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-03-27.
  5. ^ Blake, Matt (2018-04-01). "Anna Campbell's father: 'I don't think I had any right to stop her fighting in Syria'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-04-02.
  6. ^ Pérez-Peña, Richard (2018-03-19). "Drawn to a Cause, British Woman Dies Fighting Alongside Kurds in Syria". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-28.
  7. ^ Norton, Alexander (2018-03-20). "I fought with the YPG and I'm upset by the patronising reaction to Anna Campbell's death". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-03-30.
  8. ^ Warburton, Dan (2018-03-24). "Dad of a Brit killed fighting ISIS launches desperate bid to bring home her body". mirror. Retrieved 2018-03-27.
  9. ^ Evans, Martin (2018-03-21). "Father of British woman killed in Syria demands more help to repatriate her body". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-03-27.
  10. ^ "Anna Campbell: Dad calls for Turkey to return bodies". BBC News. 2018-05-17.
  11. ^ Cork, Tristan (2018-03-23). "'Anna is with us' - Protest blockades BAE office over death of activist". bristolpost. Retrieved 2018-03-27.

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