Reuters reports: While illegally crossing the Iraqi-Syrian border, Canadian Peter Douglas was adamant that his incursion was for humanitarian reasons – to help the people of Syria.
Douglas is one of a growing band of foreigners to dodge authorities and join the fight against Islamic State militants who have killed thousands and taken vast parts of Iraq and Syria, declaring a caliphate in territory under their control.
Many of these fighters argue they are there for humanitarian reasons but they say their decision to take up arms to fight for the Syrian people will not be viewed as such by some.
“I want to fight the Islamic State, although it might be the last thing I do,” said Douglas, 66, from Vancouver, as he prepared to board a boat crossing a remote stretch of the Tigris River .
“I know I have 10 years to live before I will start develop dementia or have a stroke so I wanted to do something good,” he added, although he acknowledged that taking up arms was new on the list of jobs and occupations he has previously pursued.
So far an estimated few dozen Westerners have joined Kurdish fighters battling Islamic State in northern Syria, including Americans, Canadians, Germans, and Britons. [Continue reading…]