A 24-year-old Colorado man died while serving as a volunteer combatant with a Kurdish militia in Syria, the Associated Press reports.
Levi Shirley, who appears to have gone by the nom de guerreAgir Servan, was reportedly killed by a landmine in northern Syria on July 14. Susan Shirley told the Associated Press that she received news of her son’s death from the U.S. consulate in Turkey. Shirley’s immediate family seems to have thought he was in Texas training to be an emergency medical technician, although he had traveled to Syria before.
“We didn’t even know he was over there until we got the call,” Shirley’s sister said.
Shirley was one of dozens of Westerners who have volunteered for duty with Kurdish units battling the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria since the terrorist organization began its rampage through the region in 2014. Shirley was serving with the People’s Protection Unit, or YPG, which is the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party. The group uses a Facebook page, “The Lions of Rojava,” to recruit foreigners into its ranks.
Shirley is the second American volunteer to be killed while fighting alongside the YPG. The first, Keith Broomfield, died in Syria in 2015. Neither man had prior military experience. Shirley’s mother told the Associated Press that her son had tried to join the Marines after high school but had been turned away due to bad eyesight.
Shirley was killed during his second trip to Syria. According to his mother, he had joined the YPG in 2015 and returned to the States after about three months. Between trips, Shirley worked at fast food restaurants and apparently struggled to assimilate back into his life in the suburbs of Denver. He returned to Syria in January.
“He saw ISIS as a terrible evil, and that just was not OK with him,” Shirley’s mother said. “That’s the way his mind works. If you are defenseless, he will help you.”
An Oregon Air National Guard F-15C Eagle that made an emergency landing on Wednesday ditched its entire arsenal of live air-to-air missiles before touching down at Portland International Airport, The War Zone reports.
President Donald Trump announced in December that he would withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, but Sen. Lindsey Graham has since made a strong push to keep a small residual force along the Turkish border along with troops from European allies.
The former Navy SEAL among a group of eight men arrested earlier this week in Port-au-Prince on weapons charges says he was providing security work "for people who are directly connected to the current President" of Haiti.
"We were being used as pawns in a public fight between him and the current Prime Minister of Haiti," said Chris Osman, 44, in a post on Instagram Friday. "We were not released we were in fact rescued."
It's a photo for the ages: a Marine NCO, a Greek god in his dress blues, catches the eye of a lovely young woman as her boyfriend urges her on in distress. It's the photographic ancestor of the much-loved "distracted boyfriend" stock photo meme, made even sweeter by the fact that this is clearly a sailor about to lose his girl to a Devil Dog.
Well, this photo and the Marine in it, which hopscotched around Marine Corps Facebook and Instagram pages before skyrocketing to the front page of Reddit on Thursday, are very real.
The photo shows then-Staff Sgt. Louis A. Capozzoli — and he is absolutely not on his way to steal your girl.