A self-styled “revolutionary” from a town in England is believed to have become the first British woman to travel to Syria to join the fight against Islamic State (IS) group, the media reported.
Kimberley Taylor left Britain to join the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), the all-female affiliate army of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) of Syrian Kurdistan, in March 2016.
The 27-year-old from Blackburn town told the Guardian on Thursday she had spent the past 11 months learning Kurdish and studying regional politics, weaponry and battlefield tactics at the YPJ’s dedicated military academy.
She said she travelled to the frontline in Syria in October and is involved in the push towards Raqqa, the de facto capital of IS and the likely battleground for the group’s last stand against the coalition Syrian Democratic Forces.
“I’m willing to give my life for this,” she said in a phone interview to the newspaper from her frontline base, 30 km from Raqqa.
“It’s for the whole world, for humanity and all oppressed people, everywhere. It’s not just [IS’s] killing and raping. It’s its systematic mental and physical torture on a scale we can’t imagine.”
Explaining her motivation to join the fight against IS, Taylor recounted the story of a friend, an Arab YPJ fighter from Syria, whose village was ransacked by the militant group last year.
“She was from a pro-Assad family and her eight-year-old sister wrote on a wall: ‘Without our leader, there is no life’. She did it as a protest against IS,” she said.
“So, they took her to a tall building and ran her over and over again with a car. Then, with the last one pushed her off the building. My friend ran away to join the YPJ.”
Taylor’s journey to Syria began during a trip 18 months ago to report for a friend’s humanitarian website on the first anniversary of the Sinjar massacre of August 2014, during which IS kidnapped and enslaved 5,000 Yazidi women and children and slaughtered as many men and boys, according to reports.
Taylor’s primary role is to record the YPJ’s operations by writing battlefield reports and taking photographs and videos of the action.
She told the Guardian she did not tell her family she was joining the conflict until she arrived.
Although Taylor is the first known woman from Britain to reach Syria to join the fight against IS, numerous British men have done so.
In January, it emerged 20-year-old Ryan Lock had died in December as a volunteer fighter for YPG during a battle for Raqqa.