An American citizen has died while fighting alongside Kurdish forces against ISIS in Syria, the State Department said Wednesday.
Keith Broomfield, who was from Massachusetts, died June 3 in a battle in a Syrian village named Qentere, near the border town Kobani, said Nasser Haji, an official with a group of Kurdish fighters known as the YPG. Broomfield had joined the YPG on Feb. 24 under the nom de guerre Gelhat Raman, said Haji, who didn't elaborate on the circumstances of his death.
The State Department is in contact with Broomfield's family and no further details are being made public at this time.
The Associated Press reports Broomfield is likely the first U.S. citizen to die fighting alongside the Kurds against extremists.
An official speaking to CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan could not say how Broomfield's remains would be repatriated or whether the Kurds would help with that. The official said there are "difficult circumstances."
The official said the U.S. government will try to provide "all possible consular assistance," but it's unclear what is possible. Brennan reports that since the U.S. has no diplomatic presence in Syria, the Czech government is the official U.S. protecting power and the United States government has to work through them.
The State Department official also told Brennan that the U.S. government does not support American citizens traveling to the region to fight with any group.
A man who answered the door at a home in Bolton, Massachusetts, listed as owned by Broomfield's family said the family would not be commenting. No one answered the door at a family-operated business, Broomfield Laboratories, in the town.
Dozens of foreign fighters have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight with Kurdish militias battling the Islamic State group. Previously, a British citizen, an Australian and a German woman have been killed.
Backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, Kurdish YPG fighters in Syria have successfully pushed back Islamic State group militants from Kobani and scores of nearby villages. More recently, they have closed in on the Islamic State-held town of Tal Abyad, near the Turkish border. The town is the Islamic State group's main access point to Turkey from Raqqa, the group's de facto capital in Syria.
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