American volunteer dies fighting Daesh alongside YPG in Manbij

Former US marine Levi Jonathan Shirley, known by his Kurdish comrades as Agir Servan, was killed on 14 July in offensive to recapture town of Manbij.

An American volunteer fighting alongside Kurdish forces in Syria has been killed during an ongoing offensive to recapture the town of Manbij from Islamic State militants. Levi Jonathan Shirley, known by his Kurdish comrades as Agir Servan, died on 14 July in Manbij, according to a statement on the official website of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), in whose ranks he was fighting. The statement said Shirley, who was born in Nevada, had first travelled to Kurdish-controlled territory in Syria’s north-east in February 2015 and joined the YPG and then returned to the US.

Jonathan Shirley, in a picture release by the Kurdish Defense Units
Jonathan Shirley, in a picture release by the Kurdish Defense Units

That winter he returned to Syria and rejoined the YPG, helping defend Kurdish-held areas from Islamic State and recently participating in the battle for the northern town of Manbij, which began in May and is backed by a US-led coalition bombing the militants in Iraq and Syria. Shirley was “known for his discipline and sense of responsibility” and his presence among the SDF fighters “always raised the morale of his co fighters” according to the statement. “Comrade Agir was known for his bravery and sense of self-sacrifice.”

Jayson Pihajlic, 30, a former marine, who spent a year in Rojava and fought alongside Shirley in the battle for Shadadi earlier this year described him as a former marine full of life. “He was always full of life, and comedy. The kind of guy that went out of his way to make everyone laugh. Even doing standup comedy shows for us,” said Pihajlic who served two tours in Iraq from 2005-2009.

Source: The Guardian

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