More Kiwis possibly killed in Syria conflict

  • Breaking
  • 09/06/2014

The Prime Minister has admitted more than one Kiwi may have been killed in the war in Syria.

One New Zealander is believed dead, and John Key says with a small group of our citizens fighting there, there may have been other casualties with more to come.

With a death toll so high and impossible to track, even the United Nations has given up counting.

A Syrian government official told the United Nations "of the terrorists killed in Syria some came [from] New Zealand".

"We've lost contact with him and as I understand it his family have lost contact with him," says Mr Key.

Syrian Solidarity says it knows of only one New Zealander in Syria, Weiming Chen, a Chinese-born artist believed to be fighting with the rebels.

But Mr Key won't say if he's the man killed or even if he was a fighter.

"Maybe he's part of the Red Cross there, who knows? Maybe he was part of some other humanitarian organisation. Maybe he was a doctor providing humanitarian medical services," says Mr Key.

Amira Ali, 22, may have been the first New Zealander to die in Syria. She is thought to have been killed in Aleppo in January. Her mother was a New Zealand citizen.

Ms Ali had told her family she was going to Syria for humanitarian work.

A total of one New Zealander has been killed, two Auckland brothers had their passports stripped before intending to fight and another Kiwi was arrested in Australia before leaving.

Including Mr Ali and Mr Chen there is a total of six either fighting, or trying to fight in Syria.

Mr Key says it's a handful and that includes those who have tried and failed to get there. But even though it's a small group, he says more New Zealand casualties are possible.

3 News

source: newshub archive