American YPG Fighter Complains About Group’s Lack of Medical Care

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 26 May 2017

Patrick Ryan Kasprik

Patrick Ryan Kasprik was arrested in Lee County, Florida, in September 2015 for battery of a police officer and resisting arrest. By the time of Kasprik’s scheduled court appearance in February 2016, he was in Syria, having joined the People’s Protection Units (YPG)—without any training—as a combat medic. The YPG is the military wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the name under which the terrorist-designated Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) operates while on Syrian soil. There has been a flow of Westerners joining the YPG/PKK for several years. Kasprik left Rojava in November 2016. On 24 May 2017, Kasprik wrote a public Facebook status that spoke of YPG/PKK commanders having an alarming racial disdain for Arabs and buttressed prior reports by American YPG volunteers that the YPG was providing insufficient care to its wounded. Indeed, Kasprik suggested that the YPG was content for fatalities because it made for good propaganda. Kasprik’s full post is reproduced below with some explanatory notes added in square brackets.

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I’m about to put YPG on blast. So if you’re not ready for some realness, just preemptively unfriend me. The next time a heval [comrade] you were close to, or a foreign fighter does [sic] from a survivable wound, you can thank the YPG for shutting down the TMU [Tactical Medical Unit].

I was arrested by the YPG on October 11th, of 2016 because YPG commander named Janşer wanted to shut us down and I pretty violently protested. Hence being removed from command and arrested, effectively ending my tenure in YPG (and thereafter went to serve with 060 in Şingal [Sinjar]).

This same commander said our casualty figures in Manbij (casualties that are caught on film, and records that I and another medic personally recorded diligently) are made up.

This is from the same group that refused to let Heyva Sor a Kurdistan (an NGO) ambulances treat Arab civilians, even though they had effectively commandeered them for military use in Manbij. The same group that told American SOF we worked with in Manbij to treat Arab hevals as lessers.

The things that happened at the end of, and after the fall of Manbij disillusioned me from YPG. Being called spies for the coalition, because the TMU collected information on Manbij’s medical facilities and the Daesh that led them. Being told that, in total contradiction to YPG’s highest commanders that established TMU, that “YPG doesn’t want medicine”.

So the TMU was recently disbanded, after a long time coming, by YPG. For the most part, it’s who’ll [sic] because low-level commanders who are ignorant and don’t see the larger picture that high level commanders do; however these high level commanders do nothing to intervene in the obvious circumvention of orders done by subordinates.

I have no intention of fighting for YPG ever again. I am proud of the work we did over there, and proud of what I accomplished in a year there, but I have no regrets calling them out for what they do and was proud then for standing up for what I (and the other guys in TMU) knew to be morally right even when it created friction for us.

I am moreover angry at the YPG’s lack of concern for the well being of fighters and civilians under their stead. None of this means I suddenly hate YPG or that their the bad guys; they’re just the group led by idiots with no concern for battlefield trauma care and have more desire to print out gaudy yellow photos of young dead people for propaganda.

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UPDATE: Another American YPG fighter involved in the TMU, Taylor Hudson, a veteran of the French Foreign Legion from Pasadena, California, who used the name “Paul Hetfield” while involved in the Syrian war, replied to Kasprik on Facebook by underlining the problems Kasprik had outlined:

After they [the YPG] closed the unit [the TMU], they arrested the commanders for “interrogation” and [on] “suspicion of treason” ([by which they meant] transferring to another unit of QSD), accused us of trying to sell weapons to the enemy, medical “malpractice” (kid came in paralyzed with no reported or visible MOI [mechanism of injury], went from coma to dead within an hour … I told them, “I have no fucking idea what happened, nor could I have sustained him once he went into respiratory arrest because WE AREN’T A GODDAMN HOSPITAL …) We lost one patient in over 500 and they’re trying to imprison us for murder.

When I told Janser, “You do understand that many, many people will die in Raqqa without us,” he gave me this creepy smile and said, “Well, heval, you broke the rules, and now must have consequences.” What pushed me over the edge was when he started making racist comments against the Ashuri [Assyrian] people. When he belittled the sacrifice of my friend’s son, I hammered his face in.

The “QSD” refers to the Quwwat Suriya al-Dimoqratiyya, or Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), is an ostensible umbrella formation that contains the YPG/PKK and some Arab units, which is in reality dominated—military and politically—by the PKK, though it serves as a convenient fig-leaf for the West.

Among the SDF groups is the Syriac Military Council (MFS). It was revealed on 10 October 2017 that Hudson, and another YPG foreign fighter, Kevin Howard (a.k.a. Kane Harlly), a former member of the U.S. Marine Corps, had joined the MFS, and then been detained on orders from the YPG/PKK, accused of treason and being “worse than ISIS” for joining a Christian group. Hudson and Howard were held in Tel Tamr, prevented from leaving Syria, as they wished to do after a year of war.

Both Hudson and Howard had been involved in the Tabqa battle that ended in late May 2017. Though Tabqa concluded with a deal between the PKK and IS that let the bulk IS jihadists leave to Raqqa city and elsewhere, the fighting in Tabqa had been fierce and both Hudson and Howard had been burned out by the intense workload dealing with casualties that combined with a wholesale lack of support from the PKK. The TMU was forcibly disbanded shortly after this by the YPG/PKK, and Hudson and Howard left PKK—in an “unauthorised” way—taking shelter with MFS. The pair became separated at a certain point and PKK worked to keep them apart—even telling each that the other had been killed.

Embarrassed by the publicity, MFS released a statement on 12 October saying they intended to help Hudson and Howard get home. It appears that Hudson was able to leave first and get to Iraqi Kurdistan, and Howard later left “Rojava” in the same way, reaching Iraq on 27 October. By early November, Howard was back in America.

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