The Islamic State (also known as ISIS) has wreaked havoc across Iraq and Syria. America and its allies have failed to thwart the militants in both the countries.
At the moment, the United States continues to lead airstrikes against ISIS, but has insisted that it will not employ boots on the ground.
Help for Kurds, however, is coming in strange ways. At the one hand there are Arab women and princes bombarding ISIS from the sky, and on the other, there are people joining the Kurd ranks from the most unlikely of places – the United States Armed Forces.
Yes, there are veterans who have reached Iraq and Syria and are fighting alongside Kurds. The number is yet not known, however, three of them have been in the news during the last few weeks. Here they are:
Another American brother "Jeremy Woodard" from Meridian, Mississippi fighting together with Kurdish YPG against ISIS. pic.twitter.com/PSQZQjVD10— Yavuz.C (@yave145) October 20, 2014
"I figured if I came over here more Americans and other people from other countries would come here," says Woodard.
This 28-year-old U.S. veteran joined the ranks of Kurdish People's Protection Union (YPG) or the Kurdish militias in the fight against ISIS.
"I've killed two, in my first battle in Jezaa, and that's it so far. Hopefully my numbers will go up," Jeremy Woodard said. "I never thought I'd be over in Syria killing people, but they've killed innocent people."
Jordan, or as his fellow fighters call him, Serdar (leader), is a former U.S. Army infantryman. He has also joined the ranks of YPG Kurdish militia to fight the Islamic State.
This 28-year-old recently spoke of the conditions in Syria and that of civilians being burned in an Islamic State attack, with injuries consistent with chemical weapons.
"We're trying to get a video camera to Kobane because they don't have one right now to record the injured and show the world proof of what's going on over there. ... We're making more attempts to have more solidified proof for the rest of the world," he said.
Matson, who belongs to Sturtevant, Wisconsin, arrived in Syria via Iraq and has since become the public face of the YPG.
"Someone had to do it," he laughingly told an interviewer.
Matson also told how American veterans were "outraged" over the deteriorating security situation in Iraq.
"We do not want to see our brothers' lives be for nothing," he said. "So, in the hundreds, veterans are lining up to come over here because if our government won't do anything, we will."
His family may not understand his passion. As his brother says, "I talk to him almost everyday and still don't really understand why the hell he did go over there but he is there now and nothing I can do about it now. I just hope he makes it back fine. I think the military failed him this time. He never got the war and stuff out of him and the VA's mental health didn't keep a watch on him... His reasoning and excuses for going over there just don't make sense at all."
The 43-year-old U.S. Air Force Veteran has also joined the ranks of YPG. He told a freelance photographer working in Syria that "a few Americans" had joined up with the Kurdish forces battling the blood-thirsty militants.
"Everything has been fine. They're very nice, very accommodating, hospitable. Very good people," he said.
Here he is defending the YPG Militia and his alliance with them:
There may be youngsters from the West joining ISIS in droves, but it is good to know the Kurds aren’t alone.