Ex-Liverpool student fighting Isis in Syria

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Kimberly Taylor (third from left) and her comrades at the base on the frontline. Pic © Facebook: Kimmie Taylor

A former Liverpool student has become the first British woman to fight Isis in Syria, posting regular Facebook updates about life on the front line.

Kimberly Taylor, aged 27, studied maths at the University of Liverpool, but is now battling the so-called Islamic State alongside Kurdish forces.

She left the UK last March, to join the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), the all-female affiliate army of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) of Syrian Kurdistan.

Also known by her adopted Kurdish name, Zilan Dilmar, she spent the past 11 months learning Kurdish and studying regional politics, weaponry and battlefield tactics at the YPJ’s dedicated military academy.

She was initially going to stay in Syria for 10 days to write about the women’s revolution, but she then decided to stay and join the fight.

The soldier, who is battling for a socialist and feminist revolution, explained her reasons in a Facebook message: “It all began in Athens, Greece, in November 2013. My first introduction to people fleeing the Syrian civil war. As they sat with me, sincerity in their eyes, telling their personal stories of tragedy, fear, and loss, the reality of the war was brought to life for me.”

YouTube: KomPlay


Kimberly, who moved to Liverpool after spending her early years in Blackburn, is working for the YPJ’s media team to record and broadcast their operations, but she also fights to defend the group’s camps from frequent attacks.

She added: “Together we are women liberating women. This is history in the making. After liberation, what follows is the social and political revolution we have already built in Rojava, for the women of Raqqa and for all the people there who have struggled through years of ISIS terror, before that years of abuse of Assad regime, all built up from thousands of years of systems of domination and patriarchy. What follows is true freedom. Long live the revolution.”

Dozens of volunteers from the UK are thought to be fighting Isis in Syria, but the UK Government has warned that anyone travelling to fight in Iraq and Syria – for whatever side – can be prosecuted upon their return.

About Cheyenne Hansen, JMU Journalism