This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Volunteering to Fight Islamic State

"They [Kurdish contacts in Syria] said, OK, you can come."
"It was like a race [his Kurdish Hummer followed by an ISIL explosive-filled truck]."
"[Once when an ISIL explosives truck came racing for their Kurdish Hummer an explosion from a detonated mine lifted the Hummer off the ground[ I could barely walk the next day."
"[I may have been] a little drop of water in the pool [but I know my presence fighting against ISIL made a difference]."
"[As for Trudeau's  calling off Canada's CF-18 airstrikes in preference of increased training for Kurds] I don't understand why he thinks they need training. The Kurds know how to fight. All they lack is air support, which we're not going to give anymore."
Robert Somerville, volunteer, with the Kurdish YPG in Syria
Robert Somerville was deported from Australia for not declaring his Kurdish nickname.
Facebook    Robert Somerville was deported from Australia for not declaring his Kurdish nickname

Returning from his stint fighting with the Syrian Kurdish militias against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the 28-year-old Canadian, a former member of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, with experience serving in a war zone in Australia, Robert Somerville faced a surprise 'welcome committee' when he landed in Brisbane for the purpose of visiting with his father who has been living in Australia. The reception he got there rather surprised him.

"They [Australian border police] asked me about other Canadians there [in Syria]. I said I knew some but I didn't give any names. It was an hour and a half. I was glad to get out of there", he said in an interview later back in Canada. His passport was returned to him, after his unwelcome grilling, and once he confirmed that he hadn't brought back any weapons. It appears the U.K. and Australia are becoming just about as nervous at the return of volunteers fighting against ISIL as those far more numerous returnees who fought with ISIL.

And when he returned to Canada, surprise! Officers representing the Canada Border Services Agency were also awaiting his arrival at Vancouver airport, prepared to search his cellphone and laptop, and querying him as well about posts on his Facebook account. They too questioned him about the estimated 20 Canadians who've gone over to join Kurdish forces. The government's position on the matter of Canadian volunteers going overseas to fight in Syria against Islamist jihad has been to recommend they not do this, but to join the military instead.

The concern appears to be that NATO member Turkey is incensed with the YPG, angered that his NATO allies are supporting the Syrian Kurds in their battle against ISIL, since Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party considers the YPG to be analogous with Turkey's PKK, declared a terrorist group for their conflict with Ankara over the status of Kurds in Turkey, when as a significant presence in the geography they feel entitled to a geography of their own in recognition of their heritage status.

Robert Sommerville had received training by the Kurds in the kind of guerrilla warfare practised in Syria against ISIL, and he was given weapons, then assigned to drive a Hummer making supply runs of fighters, food and ammunition to the fighting front lines. Eventually he was given the role of a gunner to man the turret placed atop the Hummer he had driven. He became accustomed to mortars raining down and gunfire pinging off the Hummer's metal plates, as well as being pursued by explosives-laden ISIL trucks.

With his experience behind him, and the feeling that he had added something of value, however briefly, to the fight against ISIL, this man who has seen the conflict from the inside, admits to being baffled by the decision of the new Liberal Government of Canada to abandon flights with the U.S.-led air bombing campaign against ISIL, in favour of beefing up the Canadian military instruction component of Canada's commitment to aid in the battle against ISIL.
Facebook The border authority grilled Robert Somerville upon his return.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

() Follow @rheytah Tweet