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Kurdish YPG forces bid farewell to American volunteer killed while fighting ISIS in Syria

AMUDE – On Thursday, the Peoples Protection Units (YPG) officially announced that US foreign volunteer Levi Jonathan Shirley was killed on 14 July in the operation to capture the town of Manbij from ISIS. “Rest in peace old friend, you died a Kurdish and American hero.”

Levi Jonathan Shirley, also known by his code name Heval Agir Şervan, was killed last week while fighting against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Manbij city on the Syrian-Turkish border. The US volunteer from Nevada joined the YPG in February 2015, and participated in several armed campaigns against the Islamic State for more than a year.

“I first met Heval Agir (Levi Shirley) on the frontline in Tel Temir in 2015. Even though he had only been in the country a few weeks, he had just got out of his first major firefight with the Islamic State,” said the YPG’s British volunteer Macer Gifford.

“His unit had come under a brutal and sustained night attack by ISIS fighters. Agir and his comrades had the higher ground so after a long night 12 ISIS lay dead and only one Kurdish fighter was slightly wounded. It was a brutal introduction to the International Volunteers in Syria but it was exactly what Agir wanted,” Gifford said.

“He came to fight and participate in the destruction of one of the most vicious ideologies of hate this world has ever seen,” he added.

The former US marine knew a lot about US military history. “For him, the fight against ISIS was like the young Americans that joined the British air force during the Second World War,” Gifford said. “The American Eagles weren’t content to sit out the war and watch the fascists roll over Europe. In the same spirit, Agir couldn’t stay at home and watch while ISIS raped and murdered their way across Syria.”

Heval Agir fought for nearly one year against ISIS, and visited Syria for the second time. “He came for no pay. For no public recognition or medals. He came knowing that he risked death and terrible injury at the hands of a brutal and remorseless enemy,” he said.

“When Americans hear about his sacrifice, I hope it gives them great pride. We are one human race that shares one planet,” the British volunteer wrote on his Facebook page. “It’s about time people realised that liberty and justice aren’t just words, they’re a birth right. Agir knew that the West could have done more to stop ISIS years ago. He felt compelled to make a difference so he led by example and paid the ultimate price.”

Heval Agir was killed in the operation to take the city of Manbij from ISIS militants. He was a former marine in his mid-20s when he joined Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria.

The US volunteer had appeared in an earlier video using a quote from the movie Starship Troopers. “Let me tell you something. I’m from the United States of America and I say kill ’em all!” Heval Agir said on camera.

Hundreds of foreign fighters have joined the YPG and Kurdish Peshmerga forces to fight the ISIS.

The Kurds are very appreciative of the foreign fighters that leave their home countries to fight against the extremist group.

In June, the Kurdish administration of Rojava [Syrian Kurdish region] created a monument for foreign fighters fallen in the battle against ISIS in the city of Qamishli.

“ISIS jihadis said that the foreigners are unbelievers, but today we can see the people who go to the paradise, they are foreigners because they assisted humanity,” said Bave Shehid Mazlum (51), the father of a killed YPG fighter.

“A foreigner who comes here from far away to fight terrorism is more appreciated than my own son who is fighting to protects his own soil,” he told ARA News.

“We don’t call them foreigners, they are our brothers,” he stated.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg

Source: ARA News

Kurdish forces of the People's Protection Units (YPG) in a training camp near Syria's Sere Kaniye. Photo: ARA News

US volunteer Heval Agir was killed while fighting ISIS in Syria’s Manbij. File photo

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