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US volunteer in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Robert Grodt, aka Demhat, from California was killed in the anti-ISIS Raqqa operation this week.
Until now, neither the SDF nor the People’s Protection Units (YPG) have confirmed the casualty, but Grodt’s death was confirmed by his family on social media.
Grodt, who used to live in New York, joined the Kurdish YPG forces over five months ago to combat ISIS extremists in northern Syria.
“In 2014, that was when Kobanê was under siege and everybody I knew was kind of watching and waiting. It was a tense sort of moment. But as the fight started to turn, people got hopeful, more people started turning up at friends that left and came to help,” he told the YPG media centre last month.
“And I’d just started a family, so I hadn’t but the plane ticket just yet, but it was something on my mind. Last year, a buddy of mine, who I was really close with, came out here. And when I saw him out here, I was like ‘That’s it! I got it. I got to go’,” he said.
“I talked with my partner and my family and I’m like, “I’m going to Syria, it’s something I care about”. And I got in contact with the YPG international. I had friends who told me exactly what I need to do, and I started to plan for it. And then I showed up about five months ago and helped through it,” he stated.
Dozens of foreign volunteers that have joined the YPG over the last few years died in the fight against ISIS. However, Robert Grodt was the first one to die in the operation to take Raqqa, the Syrian capital of the so-called Islamic State.
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News
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