Former US soldier visits Syria’s Kurdish region, calling for support to people displaced by war against ISIS

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Former US special forces operative David Eubank and his wife Karen visiting Kobane. Photo: ARA News

ARA News 

KOBANE – David Eubank, a former US special forces operative and head of the Free Burma Rangers, visited Kobane in a 4-days humanitarian trip to the Kurdish areas of Syria, also known as Rojava. “We are here to love and stand with people regardless of their religion, race or political affiliation,” Eubank told ARA News. He called on the international community to support the people displaced from their areas due to the ongoing military campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) group, especially in Manbij city.

Eubank, his wife Karen and three young children—Sahale (15), Suu (13), and Peter (10), and a doctor, visited the Kurdish areas to provide support. Asked if he didn’t think it was too dangerous for his children, he said that he does not bring them to the frontlines, adding that his wife and children stay behind with local families. “It is relatively dangerous, but the kids want to help,” he told ARA News. “My kids are tough, they have killed bears with their own guns.”

“There is need for humanitarian assistance and immediate first aid at the frontline with ISIS, and back in 10 kilometers area where ISIS is pushed back,” Eubank said.

“The purpose of our visit is to learn about the situation here and tell others, to help on the frontlines with medical care and treatment, not only soldiers but also those people trapped by ISIS, or those who were just freed from ISIS,” he added.

“We went up to the front, and had a mass casualty situation, after a family drove over an IED. We were not sure if the kids were going to make it, and our medic helped them,” he said. “The front is now moving, and there are families in the liberated areas and they don’t have food or anything. Most of the men are gone, and those civilians begged us for food,” the former US soldier told ARA News.

“There were four women holding and the dust was blowing, and they were afraid of me. I didn’t have anything left to give, so I gave them some money, and said I will pray for them,” Eubank said.

He denied that his organization is a missionary organization, although he often talked about his belief in God and prayers. “We have Buddhists, atheists, and Muslims,” he said.

His organization has also visited Iraqi Kurdistan five times and spent several weeks on the frontlines of the Peshmerga forces in Bashiqa, near Mosul and Sinjar, to give medical aid and try to document what ISIS is doing.  “We were in Burma, and we got an email: please come and help us in Kurdistan,” he told ARA News. “We said to each other: we need to figure out a way to go there,” Eubank said, adding that he prayed for a free Kurdistan.

“We thank our friends in the Kurdish government that their hearts were moved to help children in need and we thank our host here in Syria in Rojava, to allow us to come and help them,” he added.

The fighting against the Islamic State in Manbij has displaced hundreds of people. Although the local displaced people have so far been supportive of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that captured their villages from ISIS, the aid they get is limited and provided by the local administration in Kobane that also needs to rebuild the city destroyed in the fighting against ISIS.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg 

Source: ARA News 

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