Navan schoolboy who joined rebels in Syria killed in fighting

Saturday 23 February 2013 22.37
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Shamseddin Gaidan was supposed to return to school last September but instead went to Syria
Shamseddin Gaidan was supposed to return to school last September but instead went to Syria
Shamseddin Gaidan's father runs this Halal grocery shop in Navan
Shamseddin Gaidan's father runs this Halal grocery shop in Navan

An Irish Muslim schoolboy Shamseddin Gaidan, 16, has been killed while fighting with rebels in Syria.

Shamseddin Gaidan moved to Ireland from Libya in 2001 and was living in Navan, Co Meath where his family run a business.

The teen joined rebels in Syria last year.

His father Ibrahim runs a Halal grocery shop in Navan, Co Meath.

The teenager spent his summer holidays in Libya last year and was supposed to fly back to Ireland via Istanbul in mid-August.

His family raised the alarm when he did not arrive in Dublin.

They later learned he had crossed the Turkish border into Syria.

Mr Gaidan told the Irish Times: "We heard nothing from him until one day someone called from Syria saying Shamseddin is here and he is helping the Syrian people."

The last Mr Gaidan heard from Shamseddin was a brief phone call some time later during which he entreated his son to return home.

"He refused, saying how could he leave when the Syrian regime was killing its own people, including children," he added.

Mourners gathered at Tallaght mosque in Dublin this week to offer condolences to the Gaidan family.

Prayers were also offered at St Patrick's Classical School in Navan, where Shamseddin had studied.

The teenager is the second person from Ireland to die after joining rebels in Syria.

Egyptian-born Hudhaifa El Sayed, 22, from Drogheda, was shot dead in northern Syria in December.