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Father of UK woman fighting IS praises her ‘passion’


Image caption Kimberley Taylor described her parents as “the most supportive people” in her life

The father of a woman fighting in Syria says he is “worried about her beyond belief” but will not ask her to change who she is.

Kimberley Taylor, from Blackburn, is the first known British woman to travel to Syria to join the fight against so-called Islamic State.

Philip Taylor, a former teacher, told the BBC of his pride in his daughter.

The 57-year-old said: “People will wonder what sort of person does that, and what the parents think about it”.

Media captionKimberley Taylor speaks from Syria about why she was inspired by the Kurdish women’s fight

In March last year, Kimberley “Kimmie” Taylor joined the Kurdish women’s fighting force the YPJ. Since then she has been involved in battles for the IS stronghold of Raqqa.

‘Passionate about injustices’

Mr Taylor said: “Kimberley knows her own mind. She is clever, down to earth and worldly. She has embraced many life experiences and that journey ultimately took her to Syria and the plight of the people there”.

“I am certainly not advocating the measures Kimmie has chosen,” he added.

“I told her that we need people like her in this country, that the UK would be a great place to influence change around the world, but unfortunately she doesn’t agree”.

Image copyright Philip Taylor
Image caption Kimberley Taylor had not told her parents, including her father Philip, about joining the fight against IS

Ms Taylor said she was inspired by the Kurdish people’s fight for democracy and believes her female Kurdish comrades are setting an example to help solve the problems within Syria.

But the hostilities between different groups in Syria are complex.

Aside from IS, the Kurdish people in Rojava are also in conflict with Turkish armed forces.

Ms Taylor said: “The biggest enemy of the Kurdish YPG/YPJ is the Turkish army. They are occupying Rojava, they are killing civilians.”

The YPJ that Ms Taylor has joined is considered a terror group by Turkish authorities, although not by the UK.

However, British citizens are strongly warned by authorities not to become involved in the Syrian war.

Image copyright Kimberley Taylor
Image caption Kimberley says she is fighting to “liberate” Syrians with her female Kurdish comrades

Her father said: “I think you have to be there and see for yourself the lives of others before you really understand. This is where Kimmie is right now. She is passionate about the injustices of this world.”

“The suffering of these people doesn’t touch our relatively cosy lives and we wonder why anyone would want to go to such lengths and how much difference can one person make anyway. Let somebody else do it. Preferably someone you don’t know and love.”

“I have never tried to indoctrinate my children in any way whatsoever, preferring to let them grow into themselves,” he added.

“The media attention has been difficult for us. We are private people and like most, I suspect, would rather not have that kind of attention.”

Ms Taylor did not tell her parents she was going to join in the war before she arrived. She said she misses her friends and family, but does not yet know when she will come back to the UK.

She described her parents as “the most supportive people in my life”.

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