Western volunteers set up Medical Unit in Rojava to help Syrian Kurds in war on ISIS


Western volunteers training Syrian Kurds on medical aid. Photo: ARA News

ARA News 

AMUDE – Macer Gifford (29), a foreign volunteer from the United Kingdom has set up a Tactical Medical Unit with volunteers from all around the world to help Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria with medical aid. 

“We came for a number of different reasons. Mainly because we couldn’t bear to sit at home and watch the world fail to confront ISIS. There has been a failure of leadership in the West and the current strategy to defeat ISIS is terribly flawed,” Gifford told ARA News.

“Not enough is being done to help the people that are the most effective on the ground [in reference to YPG]. I set up the Tactical Medical Unit because hundreds of Kurds were dying from preventable wounds,” he said.

“I knew I could get together a team of western medics to provide training and battlefield assistance to the YPG. We have trained 100 Kurds so far in battlefield medicine,” the British volunteer added.

In the end, the group aims to train 500 to 1000 fighters. “We have also created an all-westerner medical team that will be replaced by Kurds in the near future. We’re trying to create a legacy here that will endure for years to come,” he told ARA News. 

Gifford joined the YPG in December 2014. “I was horrified by the British government’s inaction in the face of the sudden and brutal rise of the jihadists. The plight of the Yezidis and the heroic defence of Kobane by the YPG inspired me to come to Rojava [Syria’s Kurdish region] and join the resistance against ISIS,” he said. 

“I’m particularly keen to share my experiences and raise awareness about the YPG. The Kurdish administration in Rojava should be a key part of the West’s strategy to defeat ISIS. We should support them with weapons, money and humanitarian aid,” he added.

Over 80 foreign fighters are now serving with the YPG and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in both the canton administrations of Kobane and Jazeera in northern Syria, Rojava.

Recently, foreign fighters have been facing difficulties returning back to their home countries due to the political problems between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the local canton administrations in Rojava.

They risk arrest while crossing the Syrian border into the Kurdistan region of Iraq by smuggling, since the KRG does not allow fighters to cross in officially. Last week, two Britons and one Irishman were released after spending more than one week in the prison of Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region.

Medical Unit of Rojava. ARA News

Medical Unit of Rojava. ARA News

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg 

Source: ARA News 

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