American fighter dies in operation to take IS capital in Syria

A group of international fighters pose for a photo in the outskirts of the north-western Syrian town of Tal Tamir in 2015 (AFP-Getty)

An American man fighting the Islamic State in Syria has died in the battle to capture the jihadist group’s de-facto capital, Raqqa.

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and affiliated Syriac Military Council (SMC), on Friday, confirmed the death of Albert Avery Harrington in a statement.

Harrington, nom-de-guerre Cekdar Rojava or Neshro Hiro, joined the Kurdish forces in the north of Syria in March 2015 and also fought alongside the Christian SMC. He was participating in the Wrath of Euphrates operation to capture Raqqa when he was killed in an IS attack, according to the YPG.

“We have been honored by Albert’s participation in our forces: it has built on our own essential desire for freedom. Despite the geographical distance between us, we found common values in the interest of humanity,” the YPG told the Harrington family in the statement.

“Albert joined actively in our offensive against the terror threat that ISIS has caused upon Northern Syria. During the last two months Albert took active part with the YPG and with the Syriac Military Council in the Euphrates Wrath Operation to liberate Raqqa city.”

“Here, on the morning of 18th January, 2017, one group of SMC was attacked by two VBIEDS [car bombs] in Suwaydiya-Saghirah village – Raqqa,” the YPG said. “In this ISIS-led attack three fighters were killed and three were injured, including Harrington who died from his injuries later on the 25th of January.”

Harrington becomes the 5th foreign fighter and 3rd American to lose his life in the operation to capture Raqqa, which began in November 2016. Last week Paolo Todd from Los Angeles, California was killed in the same village Harrington was injured. The YPG also announced the death of three Western members -British, Canadian and American- on 16 January.