Three US Citizens Join Kurdish Fight Against ISIS

A different type of foreign national: instead of joining jihadists, US citizens found to be joining fight against them.

Tova Dvorin ,

A member of Kurdish Peshmerga forces takes ai
A member of Kurdish Peshmerga forces takes ai

Three US citizens are fighting in Syria, the British Daily Mail reports Friday. But unlike most foreign nationals, they are fighting against - not for - jihadists.

One of the Americans has been identified as Jordan Matson (28) from Racine, Wisconsin, a spokesman for the private Pashmerga army, the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), said Thursday. 

Matson is a former US Army soldier now "fighting in the Jazaa area," the spokesman added - an area riddled by heavy fighting between Islamic State (ISIS) and Kurdish forces in northeast Syria. 

The US has not blacklisted the YPG as a terrorist organization, but it does have close ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey, which has been blacklisted.

While the over 100 Americans estimated to be fighting in Syria are mostly fighting for - not against - global jihadists, the US State Department indicated that they may not differentiate between them. 

"We have warned, as you know, US citizens to defer all travel to Syria," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. "We recommend any US citizens remaining to depart immediately."

"We also, of course, remain concerned about any citizen traveling to take part in military operations," she added. 

Exact data on foreign nationals globally is uncertain. Some estimates claim that up to 75,000 foreign nationals may now have joined Syrian rebel groups.

But the Obama administration official added Monday that the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) has placed the official estimate at closer to 15,000 foreign nationals from 80 countries, with roughly 2,000 Europeans and over 100 Americans. 

Outrage and concern in American about ISIS has risen dramatically over the past month, after the cruel beheading murders of three US and British journalists and escalating threats from the terror organization.