Levi Jonathan Shirley, a Jewish American volunteer fighting alongside Kurdish forces, was killed by a landmine on July 14 in Manbij, Syria. Shirley was born in Nevada and raised in Arvada, Colorado.
Known by his Kurdish comrades as Agir Servan, he first traveled to Kurdish-controlled territory in Syria’s north-east in February 2015 and joined the YPG to fight the Islamic State (ISIS). He returned to the US in June 2015. He told his family at the time that he never wanted to fight overseas again.
His mother, Susan Shirley, said her son left home again in January 2016, telling his family he was going to Texas to train to become an EMT. Instead, he again travelled to Syria to fight alongside the Kurds.
His mother and sister said that he dreamed of joining the U.S. Marines, but could not enlist due to poor eyesight, despite surgery as a teen.
At least 12 foreign fighters from Europe, Australia and the US have died fighting alongside Kurdish forces, according to the International Brigade of Rojava, a Facebook page run by ex-volunteers from Rojava.
My statement on the recent death of Heval Agir (Levi Shirley) An old friend who will live forever in my heart. pic.twitter.com/hz7pYxBCUu
— Macer Gifford (@macergifford) July 21, 2016
Shirley’s family was notified of his death via an e-mailed letter dated July 18, 2016 from the YPG.
The letter says:
“Levi joined actively in our offensive against the terror threat that ISIS caused upon Rojava Kurdistan. Here, on the dark hours of 14 July 2016, where he exercised an immense belief and strength in the very frontlines, we lost Levi in Manbej city. On the fearless march toward the posts of the terrorist, we lost our brave companion Levi “Agir” because of land mine.”
The letter is dated July 18, 2016, and signed by the “General Command of People Protection Units (YPG).”
Shirley was the second American to be killed fighting with the Kurds. Keith Broomfield was the first American volunteer killed fighting Islamic State alongside the Kurdish fighters in June 2015.
Source: Israel in the News