Italian counter-ISIS fighter killed in Syria

Lorenzo Orsetti


BEIRUT - ISIS published photos Monday confirming the death of Lorenzo Orsetti, a 33-year-old Florentine who was fighting with Kirdish forces in an ISIS counterattack at Baghuz, eastern Syria, according to the SITE Intelligence Group that monitors jihad-related activity online.

 Italian security forces have confirmed the report that Orsetti was killed in a fire fight that ensued after an ambush by the jihadis. ISIS released a photo of the corpse on Aamaq, a social media new platform linked to ISIS, saying it was of “the Italian crusader Lorenzo Orsetti.”

 According to a report by Fausto Biloslavo for the “Occhi della Guerra” website, Orsetti was one of six Italians, including two women, who were fighting with Kirdish forces.

 “His Kurdish commander telephoned me and told me that Lorenzo died together with all his group in an ISIS counterattack this morning," Lorenzo’s father Alessandro Orsetti said. “It appears that his group was surrounded, it was with an Arab unit, but I don't know exactly what that means from a military standpoint. They killed them all,” he continued.

 “We are proud of him, of the choice he made, but we are destroyed by grief …We asked him when he was coming back but he answered that the situation was very delicate for the Kurds and he wanted to keep helping them in their cause,” added Alessandro.

 Orsetti's letter-testament expressed that he would have no regrets dying for the cause he believed in. “Ciao, if you're reading this message it means that I'm no longer in the world. Despite this premature departure, my life still remains a success and I'm almost certain that I've left with a smile on my face. I couldn't have asked for more,” Orsetti stated in the letter.

 In an interview in December he stressed his commitment to fight until the end, saying “I have no moral qualms, I'm doing the right thing, I'm right with my conscience. We are here and here we will stay until the end. Partly because there is nothing else to do, partly because it is the right thing to do. Let's fight.”

 “The Islamic State is absolute evil. This is a battle for civilization,” said Orsetti's mother. “He has always wanted to help other people … We were against him going … But he wanted to help oppressed people,” she added.

 Lorenzo's last wish in his letter was to be buried in Syria and his father said Monday that he is in favour of respecting this wish.