Marine veteran David Taylor has died while fighting as a volunteer for the Kurds against the Islamic State in Syria, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
Taylor, who kept his plans to join the YPG Kurdish militia secret, was killed this month in battle with the Islamic State at the terror group’s terror capital of Raqqa.
His father only knew of his decision to sign up with the YPG after Taylor sent him an email when he was already in Syria.
“I got an email and he said, ‘Pops, don’t worry. I’m with the YPG,'” David Taylor Sr. told the AP. “He said, ‘I’m doing the right thing. It’s for their freedom.'”
The YPG released a video saying that Taylor died July 16, and his father noted that a U.S. consular official informed his family last weekend of Taylor’s death.
It’s unclear how exactly Taylor met his demise, but his end marks the third death of an American volunteer in July alone. All three Americans were killed fighting with the YPG or People’s Defense Units.
Taylor’s motivation to join the Kurds stemmed from a conviction that ISIS needed to be stopped, which he relayed to a high school friend last February, the same year he was discharged from the Marine Corps. Alex Cintron, the friend, said Taylor couldn’t stand the atrocities he witnessed while on deployment in the Middle East. During his time in the Marine Corps, Taylor had deployed to Afghanistan, Japan and South Korea.
The YPG said in a statement that Taylor “was loved among his comrades,” adding that “he had a big heart and was a very conscientious comrade, and an expert at what he did.”
The Kurdish militia group is paying to return Taylor’s body to the United States.
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