When 27-year-old Blackburn native Kimberly Taylor traveled to Syria to fight ISIS, she didn’t ask anyone for permission. Since becoming the first British woman to travel to Syria to fight ISIS 11 months ago, Taylor has joined the YPJ, an all-female Kurdish group, and fought on the front line at Rojava battling the Islamic State near Raqqa.
“I didn’t tell my parents I was going to Rojava, I didn’t tell anyone. I told them I was going to Iraqi Kurdistan, which I’d been to the year before,” Taylor told the BBC. “When I decided to stay then I realized I’d have to tell people, so I told people. My parents were happy, I assured them that I was safe. They were happy because I said I’d found what I’d been looking for for a long time — an answer for the problems in the world.”
Standing up to “the greatest fascism of our time” in ISIS, added Taylor, felt like “my responsibility, just as everyone else is responsible to stand up to this.”
Despite assuring her parents of her safety, Taylor admitted to a few close calls. Holding up her jacket, she pointed to a large tear that she said had occurred sometime during a recent attack. “It was 4 o’clock in the morning,” she recalled. “We saw the attackers on the other side of the building … We were fighting for about three hours. Two suicide bombers came — one was successful.”
By traveling to Syria to fight, Taylor put herself at risk of facing serious criminal charges from the U.K. government should she decide to return home. Despite that reality, Taylor said she had no regrets about her decision.
“I don’t accept the government’s opinion on this,” Taylor declared. “When the British government wants to tell me I’m a terrorist or that I shouldn’t come here I don’t listen. I’m doing this for humanity, not for the government.”
Watch the BBC’s interview with Taylor below.