Turkey is refusing to allow the bodies of Americans who died fighting ISIS in Syria to pass through their borders. This change of cooperation comes just weeks after the attempted military coup last July.
Levi Shirley, William Savage and Jordan MacTaggart all lost their lives fighting against the Islamic state as members of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a ground force that is aligned with the U.S. military. Kurdish groups transported the remains by ground from Syria to Iraq earlier this month, weeks after they were killed in combat.
Ed Perlmutter (D.-Colo.) said in a statement Wednesday that even though the three men didn’t serve in the U.S. military, the United States has a responsibility to bring them home and give closure to their families. He also offered his condolences to each of their families and said that he and his office would fly a flag over the U.S. Capitol to each of them as a sign of respect.
“While much of the process took too long, this situation was unique and extremely complicated,” Perlmutter said. “It took extraordinary measures by many people to get these men from Syria to the U.S. — especially given the ever-changing and dangerous geopolitical dynamics in the Middle East. It seems we are in the final stages of this long and sad situation. I will be relieved when these young men are finally returned home to their families.”
The Washington Post reports:
While officials at the State Department have said that they were helping the families of the three men retrieve their remains, they and other U.S. agencies have declined to offer any official condolences.
The United States has tried to discourage Americans from traveling to Iraq and Syria, including those that wish to fight against the Islamic State. Despite these warnings, hundreds of Americans are believed to have made the journey.