People’s Protection Units (YPG) volunteers, American Michael Israel (27) and German Anton Neshek (Zana Ciwan), were killed by Turkish warplanes on 29 November according to another international volunteer fighting alongside the pair against the Islamic State group (IS/ISIS/ISIL), north of Raqqa.
On his Facebook page, the international volunteer, who was amongst the group killed by Turkish warplanes wrote:
We were taking a small village when we got hit by Turkish jets in the night. Two of my friends, Anton and Michael were killed among many others. I’m staying to finish out my six months. Fuck Erdogan and Fuck Turkey.
The YPG have informed both men’s families.
One of Micheal Israel’s comrades posted the following message on his Facebook page:
It’s with a heavy heart that I learn today heval [friend] Michael Israel has passed away fighting ISIS as a volunteer with the YPG in Rojava. Michael was a man of extremely powerful convictions; an inspiring, idealistic fighter who struggled unlike any other for a better world, not just for a better Kurdistan and a better America. He spent his whole life fighting systems of injustice that deny peace, and trekked the states spreading awareness against the Iraq war. He conferred his experiences and lessons from both Syria and the states with everyone. He died the very way he lived, and his legacy is an example of how a true revolutionary should be. History will exalt him as one of the greatest of our generation, like many others. He taught me a lot, I’ll never forget him. Rest in power heval.
— The Base (@TheBaseBK) December 3, 2016
I’d like to take a moment to express not only my condolences to his family but my deepest gratitude and admiration for Michael Israel. We met earlier this year as he stood along side us in San Andreas standing up to bigotry against Mexicans amongst Calaveras County government officials. He didn’t know us but he stood with us on principle because that’s the kind of man he was. His willingness to fight for others brought him our way during a break from fighting the evil scourge Daesh aka Isis in Syria as an American civilian volunteer. He told us he was going to return to that fight and he did. He was killed recently fighting as part of the Kurdish army in Raqqa, Syria. He was an activist and true warrior. May his sacrifice be remembered and honored and may his soul soar with eagles.
Michael posted this photo on social media following the violent clashes between anti-fascists and Neo-Nazis at the Sacramento Capitol. He wrote: “[F]rom the comrades in Rojava who have been in the fight against ISIS, Nusra and Grey Wolves fascists. Thank you Sacramento Antifa and everyone else for taking a stand yesterday.”
One fellow anarchist talked about first meeting Israel:
One of my best friends and comrades lost his life recently in the battle against tht fascist IS. A fellow Wobbly and Anarchist. I remember the first time we met, it was in the freezing cold night of an Occupy Sacramento action in 2011, we we’re each circling the park cop watching for the guy who climbed up in the tree in Caesar Chavez Park. We eventually struck up conversation and went to get coffee and pancakes from Dennys. We were basically killing time until our comrades were let out of county. That was the first freezing cold night I met the great man Michael Israel. A man who always lived by his beliefs and convictions, and lived up to his words and his word. This planet just lost one of the best people it had and I will be forever sad to see him go. One more R.I.P. Tatt in Old English I will most definitely be getting.
Another fellow comrade lamented:
It’s with a heavy heart that I learn today heval Michael Israel (YPG fighter of Rojava, founding member of the Sacramento IWW, and friend) was killed by a Turkish airstrike fighting in the Raqqa offensive against Daesh (Islamic State). Michael was a man of extremely powerful convictions; an inspiring, idealistic fighter who struggled unlike any other for a better world, not just for a better Kurdistan and a better America.
He spent his whole life fighting systems of injustice that deny peace, and fighting for the rights of the oppressed. He conferred his experiences and lessons from both Syria and the states with everyone. He died the very way he lived, and his legacy is an example of how a true revolutionary should be. History will exalt him as one of the greatest of our generation, like many others. He taught me a lot, I’ll never forget him.
According to reports Michael Israel was an anarchist and member of IWW (Industrial Workers of the World), a revolutionary anti-capitalist union.
In a Facebook post on August 11th, 2016, Israel, who had spent two stints in Rojava wrote:
I am back in Rojava again and will be here for the next several months to do my part in defending the revolution.
The Rojava struggle is the most dynamic and ground breaking revolutionary movement of our time. I am determined that it is the job of leftist allies and internationalists to rally behind this movement, to help build it up and learn from it. Things that we may have only dreamed of in theoretical writing are acted upon in Rojava, modified and adapted to their struggle and made real. Rojava is doing this all and reorganizing society despite the chaos and destruction of 5 years of civil war. The gains of the revolution under such austere and harsh conditions is truly remarkable.
Now that I am back in Rojava, I know all my needs will be met. Here I will never be in want of basic necessities for lack of money. I, like all others in Rojava, will never go without food and water, clothing or a place to rest my head at night. The movement takes care of people here.
That is not to say though that Rojava and the rest of Syria do not need help though.
I’m calling on all of my friends and comrades to learn about the Rojava revolution and how they have been leading the charge in the war against ISIS fascists. I’m calling on all of you who are able, to do your part in helping or sending donations so that this revolution may become stronger with the aid of the international community.
Michael Israel becomes the 5th American YPG volunteer to be killed in battle against the Islamic State in Rojava but the first to be killed by Turkish fire.
Anton Neshek is the 4th German to be killed in the ranks of the Kurdish forces.
It is not known how many other fighters of the YPG, a leading force in the multi-ethnic SDF which launched the ‘Wrath of Euphrates’ operation to liberate Raqqa from IS, were killed in the aerial attack.