American 'Martyr' Killed in Syria

Keith Broomfield was fighting alongside Kurdish YPG forces
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2015 2:05 PM CDT
In this Nov. 19, 2014, file photo, fighters from Kurdish popular defense units YPJ (women) and YPG (men) gather before heading out to fight in Kobani, Syria.   (AP Photo/Jake Simkin, File)
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(Newser) – A 36-year-old American has been killed fighting ISIS alongside Kurdish fighters in Syria, NBC News reports, citing a State Department official. Keith Broomfield, originally from Massachusetts, reportedly died in battle outside Kobani; a Kurdish official there confirms an American died. "American YPG fighter Keith Broomfield fell martyr near Suluk, Rojava (Syria)," tweeted the Kurds' Peshmerga account today. The YPG is a group of Kurdish fighters, and the AP spoke with a YPG official who says Broomfield became a member of the group on Feb. 24 under the nom de guerre Gelhat Raman and died June 3.

Broomfield's mother confirmed to NBC that he had left to go fight four months ago and that his texts home ceased some time ago. "I didn't want him to go but I didn't have a choice in the matter," says Donna Broomfield, adding that she's "waiting for his body to come back." While the AP reports that a number of Westerners, including Iraq War veterans, have joined up with Kurdish fighters, it notes that Broomfield is "likely the first US citizen" to die while fighting with them against ISIS.

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