PETALING JAYA - As Syrian jet fighters and tanks fired on a militant base in east Hama, Syria, in a daylight attack, the self-proclaimed jihadists, which included several Malaysian volunteers, fled in trucks and other vehicles.
Mohammad Fadhlan Shahidi Mohammad Khir, 21, from Kedah, was in one truck when he was hit by shrapnel and fell out of the speeding vehicle during the assault on Tuesday morning.
A tank was firing on the truck so the driver could not stop to enable the other passengers to pick up Mohammad Fadhlan, a fellow Malaysian jihadist Ahmad Salman Abdul Rahim revealed.
Militants in another truck managed to pull him into their vehicle shortly after but he was mortally wounded and died minutes later.
"Fadhlan died in the arms of a comrade," Salman said.
Mohammad Fadhlan is believed to be the youngest Malaysian jihadist and is the second Malaysian to be killed in the ongoing conflict between the militants and the President Bashar al-Assad's government.
The attack also wounded two other Malaysians: former Kedah PAS Youth information chief Mohd Lotfi Ariffin, 45, and another known only as Abu Agfhan.
Mohammad Fadhlan's mother Fatimah Md Lazim, 55, identified his body from photographs, according to a source here. His remains were buried in east Hama.
His father Mohammad Khir Ismail, 59, has not been told of his death, reports ROYCE TAN.
"We have yet to break the news to our father because he is bedridden after suffering a stroke.
We don't think he will take the news well," said Mohammad Fadhlan's brother Firdaus, 27, at the family home in Kampung Bukit Kabu in Mahang Karangan, Kulim, yesterday.
Mohammad Fadhlan was the fifth among eight children in the family. He has four sisters and three brothers, aged eight to 29.
He went to Syria on May 13 via Istanbul.
"He sent our mother a text message on May 14 telling her he was going to fight in Syria. We didn't believe it at first. We only realised he was serious when we saw his Facebook postings," said Firdaus.
After that, Mohammad Fadhlan did not keep in touch with his family.
"We tried sending him messages on Facebook but he never replied," Firdaus said.
The first Malaysian militant to die in Syria was Abu Turob, 52, who was killed during an attack by tanks and snipers on Aug 19.
Another militant, Pahang-born Ahmad Tarmimi Maliki, died in Iraq when he drove a military vehicle packed with explosives into a SWAT headquarters and detonated it, killing 25 soldiers in May.