A volunteer fighter has become the first American to be killed while serving with the Kurdish YPG in Syria.
Keith Broomfield, 36, originally from the town of Westminster near Boston, Massachusetts, joined the volunteer fighting group on February 24 and died on June 3 in a battle in the village of Qentere.
He died near the border town of Kobani, said Nasser Haji, an official with the YPG.
State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke confirmed Bloomfield’s death, but declined to provide any details about the circumstances. He said the US was providing consular assistance to his family.
Broomfield’s mother, Donna, told NBC News from the family home in Westminster that she learned from her other son that Keith, who had been the production manager for the family’s manufacturing firm, was dead.
She said: ‘He turned his life over to the Lord and he decided this was God’s will and God wanted him to do it.’
Mrs Broomfield said her son had left to fight around four months ago and while there was ‘a little bit of texting’ after he first arrived, lately she had heard ‘nothing’.
She said: ‘I didn’t want him to go but I didn’t have a choice in the matter.
‘I’m waiting for his body to come back.’
The People’s Protection Unit (YPG for short) created a foreign brigade called the Lions of Rojava to allow volunteers from around the world to join the Kurdish militia in their fight against ISIS.
Those who put themselves forward are given a Kurdish nom de guerre when they join and Broomfield’s was Gelhat Rûmet.
On the Lions of Rojava Facebook page, he was described as a ‘brave American warrior [who] came to Kobane because he could not lean back and watch the atrocities which were committed by ISIS.’
The post continued, ‘He felt very connected to the Kurdish people and was a very generous and freedom loving person.
‘So one day our brave warrior Keith decided to make his way to Rojava and to join the fight with the YPG. He booked his flight from the United States and joined the cause.
‘Keith’s generosity could be seen in his visits to the refugee camp of Suruc [Turkish town near the Syrian border] and his desire to help the poor children who are growing up in such a dangerous environment.
‘He was a warrior with the courage and the heart of a lion. We want to thank his mother Donna for giving birth and raising such a wonderful son.
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