Body of American Keith Broomfield killed fighting Daesh handed over to family

Body of American Keith Broomfield killed fighting Daesh handed over to family

Hundreds of people turned up in the Kurdish town of Kobani to bid farewell to Keith Broomfield before his body was handed over to family at the Mursitpinar gate, said Idriss Naasan.



By (AP)

Published: Thu 11 Jun 2015, 8:03 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:06 PM

A photo of Keith Broomfield from Jennifer Broomfield's facebook profile.

BEIRUT  — The body of an American who died fighting with Kurdish forces against the Daesh group in Syria was handed over on Thursday to his family at a Turkish border crossing, a Kurdish official said.

Hundreds of people turned up in the Kurdish town of Kobani to bid farewell to Keith Broomfield before his body was handed over to family at the Mursitpinar gate, said Idriss Naasan.

Broomfield, from Massachusetts, died on June 3 in battle in a Syrian village near Kobani, making him likely the first US citizen to die fighting alongside Kurds against the Daesh group.

He had joined the People’s Protection Units known as the YPG on Feb. 24 under the nom de guerre Gelhat Rumet. The YPG are the main Kurdish guerrilla battling the Daesh group in Syria.

The US Department of State confirmed Broomfield’s death Wednesday but declined to provide any details about the circumstances.

It was not immediately clear who from Broomfield’s family was there to receive his body on the Turkish side Thursday. Kurds in Turkey lined the road, waving flags and applauding as the convoy carrying the body drove by.

The fight against the Daesh group has attracted dozens of Westerners, including Iraq war veterans who have made their way back to the Middle East to join Kurdish fighters, who have been most successful against the extremist group.

Many are spurred on by Kurdish social media campaigners and a sense of duty rooted in the 2003 US-led military invasion of Iraq, where Daesh fighters recently have rolled back gains U.S. troops had made.

Previously, a British citizen, an Australian and a German woman were killed fighting with the Kurds.

The YPG on Thursday posted a video that showed Broomfield saying he was in Syria “to do what I can to help Kurdistan. With everything that’s been going on, it seems like the right thing to do.”

“I just want to help the cause anyway I can,” he said.

A YPG statement posted on the group’s website said he had a great desire to learn the Kurdish language and understand Kurdish ideology

Backed by US-led coalition airstrikes, Kurdish YPG fighters in Syria have successfully pushed back Daesh group militants from Kobani and scores of nearby villages. More recently, they have closed in on the Daesh-held town of Tal Abyad, near the Turkish border. The town is the Daesh group’s main access point to Turkey from Raqqa, the group’s de facto capital in Syria. 


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