A Kurdish militia group reported on Wednesday that an American fighting alongside the Kurds against the Islamic State extremists died last week in Syria. According to NBC, the U.S. state department confirmed the death of Massachusetts man Keith Broomfield, 36, but couldn’t provide any further details.
Apparently, he is the first American to die fighting Islamic extremists in northern Syria and Iraq. Nasser Haji, an official with the Kurdish forces known as People’s Protection Units, said that Broomfield joined the YPG, the armed wing of Kurdish Democratic Union Party on February and died in a battle on June 3 at Qentere, near Kobani in Syria.
“He turned his life over to the Lord and he decided this was God’s will and God wanted him to do it,” revealed the American soldier’s mother in a tearful telephonic interview with NBC from Westminster, Mass.
“I’m waiting for his body to come back,” she added.
On Twitter, the Kurds hailed Broomfield as an American hero who embraced “brave martyrdom.” Several other Americans are believed to be fighting the IS forces, though the exact number is unknown yet. Two other men from Australia and Britain were killed in battle, and a woman from Germany also died last March.
Aided by US air power, the YPG has succeeded driving out extremist forces from the Kobani region and Turkey border.