American volunteer who joined Kurdish militia dies fighting ISIL

by WorldTribune Staff, July 24, 2016

An American who volunteered to fight alongside a Kurdish militia against Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) in Syria has been killed in action.

Levi Jonathan Shirley
Levi Jonathan Shirley

Levi Jonathan Shirley was killed in fighting on July 14 as the Kurds fought to liberate the city of Manbij from ISIL.

Shirley is remembered “for his discipline and sense of responsibility” and his presence “always raised the morale of his co-fighters” the militia said in a statement. “He was known for his bravery and sense of self-sacrifice.”

Shirley, born in Nevada, had joined the militia in February of 2015, returned to the U.S., and came back to rejoin the fight against ISIL.

Hundreds of volunteers, mostly Christians from Europe and the Americans, have joined the Kurdish militia in recent years. At least 12 have been killed in action.

Jayson Pihajlic, a former U.S. Marine who fought alongside Shirley, remembered his friend:

“He was always full of life, and comedy. The kind of guy that went out of his way to make everyone laugh. Even doing standup comedy shows for us.”

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