Keith Broomfield: Family of first US citizen killed fighting against Isis say he was wanted to confront atrocities

Body has been handed over to family representative on Turkish border

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The Independent Online

The family of the first American citizen known to have killed fighting against Isis, said he was inspired to act after watching media coverage of their atrocities and killings.

Reports said that the body of Keith Broomfield was handed over to representative his family by Kurdish forces on a Turkish border crossing.

Hundreds of people turned up in the Kurdish town of Kobani to bid farewell to Mr Broomfield before his body was handed over to family at the Mursitpinar gate, the Associated Press said.

Mr Broomfield, from Massachusetts, died on June 3 this year in battle in a Syrian village near Kobani, making him likely the first US citizen to die fighting alongside Kurds against the Islamic State group.

He had joined the People's Protection Units known as the YPG on Feb. 24 under the nom de guerre Gelhat Rumet. The YPG are the main Kurdish guerrilla battling the Islamic State group in Syria.

The US Department of State confirmed Mr Broomfield’s death on Wednesday but government officials declined to provide any details about the circumstances

The fight against the Islamic State group has attracted dozens of Westerners, including Iraq war veterans who have made their way back to the Middle East to join Kurdish fighters, who have been leading the fight against the extremist group.

Previously, a British citizen, an Australian and a German woman were killed fighting with the Kurds.

The YPG on Thursday posted a video that showed Mr Broomfield saying he was in Syria "to do what I can to help Kurdistan”.

“With everything that’s been going on, it seems like the right thing to do,” he said in the video. “I just want to help the cause anyway I can.”

Jennifer Broomfield, a woman who identified herself on Facebook as Keith Broomfield’s sister, shared an image of a text message conversation on the social medium, which she said were the “Last words I had with my brother”.

“My unspoken prayers and tears for those in the Middle East were answered when he left to fight,” she wrote, according to CNN. “I didn't think I would lose him.”