Writing by Patrick Keddie
Richard Jansen was watching the streets, waiting for Islamic State (ISIS) fighters to appear, when a heavy firefight broke out one day in January. “There was shooting like crazy, then it went quiet for a bit,” he recalls. It is not clear what exactly happened next, but Jansen was told that a mortar came out of the silence that followed the firefight, striking a wall a few feet from his head. “All I remember is that I woke up in hospital.”
Jansen, a 40-year-old Dutchman who lives in Germany, is one of scores of Westerners who have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight against ISIS, mostly alongside Kurdish forces. Even after leaving the perils of the battlefield behind, many of these fighters face dangers and uncertainty when they return to their home countries.
[Read the rest of the article published by NOW Lebanon here]