A 19-year-old British Soldier currently serving the British Armed Forces has reportedly left his country and traveled to the Middle East because he wants to help the Kurds in their battle against ISIS. According to the Telegraph, the soldier was stationed with the 2nd Battalion of The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment when he decided to travel to the Iraqi-Syrian border in support of the Kurds.
There are conflicting reports about the circumstances in which he left the British army and joined the Peshmerga forces. According to one report, the British soldier was stationed in Cyprus when he left the British military base there and traveled to the Middle East. In another report by Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the soldier was on leave when he decided to join the Kurdish forces.
The British soldier, whose identity has been kept under wraps, had informed his friends and family about his intention to join the Kurdish forces and told them: “these guys need our help”.
In a message to his family and friends, the 19-year-old soldier writes as follows.
“I’ve gone to join the Kurds in Syria and Iraq. I’m with other British people and a Canadian at the moment. I don’t know how to explain it to you but I really want and need to do this and I will be safe.”
The young British soldier was also quite clear on the amount of time he wishes to spend alongside the Kurds. According to Sky News, the British soldier has told that he would be fighting alongside the Kurds for one year, after which he intends to return to Britain. The report also adds that he is currently on an annual leave. A British Ministry Of Defence spokesperson has confirmed the development and said that they are aware of this development and are looking into the reports of the British soldier’s decision to join the Kurdish Peshmerga forces. Meanwhile, sources within the military have said that if the British soldier does not return home and report for duty by the end of his leave, he would be considered AWOL (absent without official leave) and could face disciplinary action. Officials have, however, reiterated that their priority now is to ensure that the soldier remains safe and returns home.
While we have had several reports of westerners joining ISIS in their quest to establish an Islamic State, this is the first confirmed report of a member of the Armed Forces joining the Kurdish fighters to help them against the ISIS. There were several unconfirmed reports of western fighters who have traveled to the Middle East in support of the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters. In fact, a few months ago, there were reports of two former British soldiers who traveled to the Middle East to support the Kurds following the killing of British citizen Alan Henning. The 19-year-old British soldier has said that he is currently in the company of several Canadian and British fighters who have volunteered to fight for the Kurds against ISIS. Several of them are believed to be former British soldiers.
[Image via Sky News]