Azad is a 34-year-old British national from a Kurdish background. Based in London and Brussels, Azad grew up in Iran, where he was conscripted into the army and escaped to the UK. Aged 19, he was granted asylum and citizenship, learnt English and began working as a journalist for the Kurdish diaspora media. In 2011, Azad was working for a television station in Stockholm when the Syrian civil war broke out and the Kurds established their autonomous enclave. Azad’s response was to fly out to Syria and work as a social worker, but as the civil war expanded he became a fighter in the volunteer army, the YPG.