Candlelit vigil for Lewes woman killed in Syria

Anna Campbell's father Dirk and sister Rose led the tribute. Photographs: Peter Cripps
Anna Campbell's father Dirk and sister Rose led the tribute. Photographs: Peter Cripps

A moving candlelit vigil was held on Cliffe Bridge yesterday evening (March 19) in tribute to a Lewes woman killed in Syria.

Anna Campbell, 26, a volunteer with the all-female Kurdish armed unit the YPJ, died on Friday in Afrin, a city under bombardment by Turkish forces.

The scene at Cliffe Bridge in Lewes on Monday

The scene at Cliffe Bridge in Lewes on Monday

She travelled to Syria in May last year to help the Kurds, who were battling the Islamic State (IS) group.

Her father, Dirk Campbell, described his daughter as “very idealistic” and “determined”.

The vigil was attended by more than 100 people, a remarkable number given the short notice of the event.

Local councillor Chelsea Renton posted on the Lewes Forum at 1.36pm yesterday: “There will be a vigil for Anna at 6pm this evening at Cliffe Bridge. Bring a candle to remember an exceptionally courageous and much-loved Lewesian.”

Anna Campbell was described as 'exceptionally courageous'

Anna Campbell was described as 'exceptionally courageous'

She said afterwards: “It was an outpouring of love for Dirk and his family.”

Family, friends and complete strangers attended, many leaving floral tributes at the scene.

Mr Campbell’s anguish has been compounded by difficulties recovering his daughter’s body. He said today (Tuesday, March 20): “It’s a war zone. Anyone who tries to get to a body runs the risk of being shot.”

He said his daughter had been involved in human rights activism in the UK and it was the Kurdish aim of creating a democratic society in the wake of IS that inspired her to join them.

Ms Campbell is understood to have been killed in an air strike. Turkey sees the YPJ and associated YPG as an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a link that the Kurds deny.