My short bio: Happy to ask anything you guys wish to know!

My Proof:

Comments: 130 • Responses: 54  • Date: 

PmMeYourThingamabobs9 karma

Mr Freeman, is that you?

Jokes aside, how was the deployment? How long were you away for?

First thing you did when you got back home?

What is day to day living when you're away?

NandosLoL15 karma


Yeah was really good, of course bad points in it too.

Firs thing when I flew in to Jordan was grab a Starbucks.. First thing in England? Grab some foot cream and made the trip to go see my other half!

When we weren't in a firefight, it was just the usual guarding, smoking, playing volleyball and interacting with the Kurdish folk.

PmMeYourThingamabobs3 karma

How is that area right now, did you have to engage in a lot of firefights during your time?

I've known quite a few Kurdish refugees (Turkish and Syrian) over the years and I'm always impressed how friendly and open they are even though their circumstances are dire.

How was their attitude towards yous when you were over there?

NandosLoL11 karma

I was mainly in the Tell Brakk area, Tell Hamees too.

Ambushing and a few village clearing was the main fire fights. The last night I was at the front it all kicked off with about 20 Daesh trying to take a position west of us. We joined in, it was over so quick but was intense!

Pretty much every Kurdish man and woman I met was very friendly and welcoming. They take us in, look after us and we feel part of their big family.

A few times in the cities we were maybe frowned upon? We decided to leave our rifles and chest rigs in the vehicles and decided to shop without equipment.. The local Kurds were a lot more welcoming then.

PmMeYourThingamabobs3 karma

Can't imagine what that is like, sounds very intense.

Would you consider doing another tour in the future?

I think some animosity is inevitable but it's nice to hear that it wasn't generally the case. My perception about Kurds is that we "westerners" have a lot to learn from them about the value of family, friends and community

NandosLoL6 karma

To say the least!

It would take some heavy thinking, if something was to happen to any of my buddies who are still out there (God forbid) I'd be out there in a flash.. Other than that I'd have to have a serious talk with my girlfriend first.

I completely agree! I'd love to meet up with some Kurds who live in England to see what they are like also..

PmMeYourThingamabobs3 karma

Fair enough mate, you deserve a bit of peace and quiet now. I hope that your buddies and you stay safe.

Thanks for answering my questions today :)

NandosLoL3 karma

No problem dude, anything else you want to know.. Be sure to hit me up

Gorstag1 karma

playing volleyball

This cracks me up. Maybe Top Gun was actually a documentary.

NandosLoL5 karma

Dude... You would not believe how good the Kurds are at volleyball!

hitbyacar18 karma

Have you been contacted by legal authorities since coming back to England? Did you tell the Foreign Ministry before leaving?

NandosLoL9 karma

Nope and nope!

I got told I would get stopped by authorities at the airport but nothing at all.. I was surprised to say the least!

ttenz267 karma

Do you consider yourself a mercenary?

What inspired you to become a YPG fighter?

What was the first meal you had when you got back to Blighty?

NandosLoL20 karma

Didn't make any money so definitely not!

Seeing what ISIS do to families out there is absolutely disgusting, I woke up one morning and thought I personally needed to make a stand against the scum. If I can do it, anyone certainly can.

We had a few days in Erbil which is sort of Westernised where we had pizza and burgers a few times but I had fish and chips last night which was amazing!

herzing955 karma

How does one join the YPG?

What other forces are fighting ISIS?

I have considered joining this fight, but don't really know how. I am an American citizen, if that makes a difference.

NandosLoL7 karma

Head over to Facebook and look for a Lions of Rojava page, that is the only official way to join!

mankstar12 karma

Head over to Facebook

Joining a resistance movement against a terrorist group via social media? What a time to be alive..

NandosLoL6 karma

Haha yeah, was definitely strange when doing so.. Big adventure!

tontyismynameyeh4 karma

Are you religious? Did you find your religious beliefs were ever at odds with those you were fighting alongside?

How do you see ISIS in relation to other Muslims of the world?

Did you discuss your desire to go and fight with family or friends? How did they react?

What kit/equipment did you take with you? What was issued to you by the YPG?

NandosLoL7 karma

Christian. The Kurds didn't really have any views of other religious beliefs which was nice I guess.

I didn't, I sent a rather in depth email to my friends as soon as I landed in Iraq..

I only took hand luggage, so a decent rucksack. Decent combat trousers and jackets. Underwear and decent socks! We only get issued uniform, chest rig an AK or M16 with magazines and two grenades.

tontyismynameyeh3 karma

What was the content of the email (be as specific as you like)? And how did your friends react?

Were the YPG well equipped? Were there regular supplies of food, water, ammunition etc?

Did you have any previous military experience? If not did you receive any when you arrived or did they just point you towards the baddies?

NandosLoL7 karma

Just saying how sorry I was that I disappeared but I needed to do something to help. They were understanding but very sad at the start.

We got to choose our rifles, Russian AK's is what we mainly chose but they had M16's without scopes. 5 magazines and 2 grenades (Russian or NATO) and then you are sent on your way!

Food and ammo was in good supply.. Water not so much. There were times when I saw people throw a fresh bottle of water away after just taking ONE sip of the water... I wasn't happy!

DJClearmix3 karma

How are things on the ground their actually? Seems like main stream media is blowing smoke fifty percent of the time, so how are the locals really doing against ISIS?

The world needs more people like you by the way.

NandosLoL12 karma

From what I know of now, its going well.. The media on YPG is very very little which is a shame.

The Kurds are full of love and they fight from the heart. Something ISIS doesn't do. We all banded together which grsnted us victories, something I hope they continue to do for their freedom!

Thank you mate, seriously..!

BlackVoidDragon3 karma

If someone hasn't asked already, how exactly does ISIS fight? Do they typically employ a guerrilla style of warfare like many other terror cells or do they act more like and organized, state funded military? perhaps a bit of both?

NandosLoL5 karma

It was a mix of both. Sometimes you could tell that they had extensive training, and others... Well, perhaps farmers or just like you said guerillas.

evilfetus013 karma

How long were you in Syria for?

NandosLoL3 karma

In Syria for around 2 months

evilfetus012 karma

Daily life: Would you be among mostly fighters? Or were fighters living among civilians?

Were there children? Schools?

NandosLoL5 karma

We only ever stayed with fighters, we often visited schools and families on the way to other groups and camps!

BurgNast2 karma

Did you here about this terrorist who took a selfie in front of an ISIS building and posted it to some social media? The USA apparently found it and took the building out less than 24 hours later. Do you believe social media and the internet does more good or bad with the fight against ISIS?

NandosLoL1 karma

Dude, if that's what it takes to get rid of the Cancer we call ISIS then so be it... Give them all phones and let them tell "Heval Obama" where they are so we can take them all out.

I often think what would happen if we didn't report on anything they do.. Would it stop? Probably not. Maybe more news on what the little guys are doing, like the YPG... Will be more beneficial!

FreedomEagle12 karma

Are you ex military? i was thinking of going over to the YPG myself and heard they give you training

NandosLoL2 karma

Nope, no military experience.

They give you training that can last anything up to 10 days.

FreedomEagle11 karma

So would the training be enough to survive in a firefight? I cant join the British army for some medical reasons

Do you go into a unit with other foreigners?

NandosLoL1 karma

Yeah, it certainly gives you enough. If you need medication for your reasons probably best not to go bro. I think you usually get put in with a couple of westerners, mainly Kurds.

lockd0wn2 karma

How was the morale of the syrian people?

How did you and your comrades view isis as opponents? For example, in ww2, Americans and Germans respected each other, but Germans and soviets hated each other.

NandosLoL8 karma

Very, very high. Of course with all their pain they have been through.. They were super happy to see our faces. Of course when we beat them in Volleyball a few evenings... They were not best pleased!

I can probably speak for most, when I say... We hate them.

Eurostar912 karma

Did you had some help of U.S. military airstrikes? How is your opinion to the Western states? Do the weapon shipments help you and the other Kurds on the frontlines?

NandosLoL3 karma

Yep, saw a couple of airstrikes and heard others talk about them! There just needs to be more support given, these guys are fighting with next to nothing!

I was armed with a Russian AK which was in pretty decent condition. I found 2 NATO grenades to replace my Russian grenades.

The equipment we had was definitely not as good as ISIS. Every operation we made it known to everyone that "our kit was good, theirs was better".

pink24r2 karma

-How many magazines did they equip you with?

-Did you meet any Hezbullah fighters in syria, or were you anywhere near them?

-Who eventually retreated in that fight you've had with isis where they were just a building away and if any causalities on both sides?

NandosLoL2 karma

5 magazines, but you can always pick up more along the way.

Nope, I didn't meet any of those guys.

The fighting just came to a stop, we retreated back into a field and took cover. Waited until daylight to go back in and saw the casualties. We took none.

Notningamaster2 karma


NandosLoL3 karma

I'd like to think that in the future they would support them more.

All intelligence is shared of course, common enemy of course :)

meme_forcer2 karma

Does England have laws about you fighting for a foreign group? I remember hearing about Americans who did similar things in Spain and other places in the middle east who were arrested when they returned home

NandosLoL3 karma

Nope, I've since returned to England and there were no Police or officers waiting for me at the airport. Really surprising as previously been told that I would be stopped!

drunkrabbit992 karma

How frequent are the firefights ? Have you had the chance to fight along Canadian/Anzac special forces ? Are the airstrikes helping much ?

NandosLoL5 karma

Not really a schedule, but most nights..! Definitely two a week-ish!

Didn't meet any Canadians unfortunately.

Airstrikes obliterate everything in sight, so of course bro.

Cookieslaughter1 karma

I see aks in the first picture. What equipments were you using?

NandosLoL2 karma

I had a Russian full stock AK47, 2 NATO grenades and 5 30rd magazines

Fergulous1 karma

How long were you fighting against ISIS in Syria?

NandosLoL1 karma

2 and a bit month

bl33t1 karma

how many of them spoke english? did you go as a group or by yourself?

NandosLoL2 karma

The Kurds? Not so many, I learnt Kumanji along the way which helped big time. I went by myself.

Panzerkampfpony1 karma

Did you ever encounter the FSA or Peshmerga? and if so did they get along with the YPG?

NandosLoL2 karma

Not FSA, only Pesh a few times.. They were happy enough with us :)

adam80201 karma

In your opinion - what should the West or other big actors do to defeat ISIS?

NandosLoL0 karma

Personally, get into Syria and drive ISIS off the face of the Earth.

cerdo_caliente1 karma

Hello, much respect for what you've done.

Which organization were you working with? Lions of Rojava? Saw your answer in another comment. I have similar intentions but I feel like I can't pick up and leave until I've settled my debts here. (Don't want to leave any debt to family in case of the worst.)

How difficult was it to travel over there? Do you feel like the government is now aware and watching you? Could you think of any way to bring western equipment out there? I have also heard that some Kurds are just as susceptible to the pitfalls of ignorance\poverty much like their neighbors (mistreatment of women, hostility towards atheists, strict religious beliefs. etc.), did you witness anything in this regard or were you working with the more leftist groups?

Do you get the sense that this conflict will continue indefinitely? (I guess I mean, how much longer will this conflict last?) Do they need more volunteers? Does it still make sense to go?

Thanks for doing this. I'm sure I will think of more questions.

Edit: How were you able to place your life on hold back in the west? (Yank here.) Does race factor into how the Kurds will accept foreigners? Were any foreign volunteers martyred during your time over there? What physical condition were you in? What kind of condition would you recommend? Are there non-combatant roles that the Kurds could use help with? (I was thinking if I can't pass muster then maybe taking an educational role with kids.) AFAIK the fighting in most places comes and goes in seasons, did you sense that? What recommendations would you have for people packing for this?

NandosLoL1 karma

Hey Cerdo, much appreciated!

No difficultly whatsoever, ordered my tickets online and then went off to the airport! Didn't have any trouble at the airport in England or Germany. Government were meant to pick me up for questions when I landed home but noone was waiting for me so went home.

You could chance bringing it with you but the Iraqi airports are very strict when you go through customs so you could get it taken away from you.

Didn't meet anything like that, the YPG and YPJ are best of friends and so were we. There were times when we went to villages and men brought their wives and children out to have photos with us... rather bizarre to have that experience in the middle east!

Yeah definitely, the fight is not over for a long time. Of course it does bro, they will definitely find something for you to do. You make the sacrifice to go over, and they will be very accommodating to your needs and desires.

Happy to answer them :)

cerdo_caliente1 karma

Thank you! I've thought up of a few more questions in my original comment. I'm hoping to be ready to go before the spring. Do you have any plans on returning? How many volunteers would you guess are there?

NandosLoL1 karma

I'd say I would probably go back but after heavy thinking and talking with my close friends and girlfriend.

I met around 100 foreign volunteers

NandosLoL1 karma

Reply to your edit:

My work contract had come to an end so I didn't have that to worry about, I was able to get up and head out straight away!

Nope not at all. I've met people from all walks of life... People from Korea, Iran, Brazil, Mexico, and even one from Mali. No race factors whatsoever.

I was in an OK shape, now I'm in a much better shape. I've lost hella weight though due to food and the heat. I've been with some big guys and super skinny guys... Just be able to run and you'll be fine!

Yeah definitely, apparently the Summer is when it all kicks off. The evenings and night time is when we spent the most time fighting.

I recommend; Warm clothing from the evenings Lightweight clothing for the daytime

Foot powder definitely BABY WIPES! Socks... Decent walking boots Hat x2 because you'll always lose one Bring one of those wallets to keep your passport in so that doesn't get wet or ruined A decent backpack/dropbag A phone that can take any International sim card Embassy/consulate numbers for Iraq & Turkey Gloves, probably Mechanix

Is there anything you were thinking of bringing?

cerdo_caliente1 karma

Definitely everything you've listed. High-end sunglasses. I doubt I could get past security with any sort of personal armor or weapons, which makes me consider taking an ocean freighter but that's probably unrealistic. It's such a shame that I have access to almost the entire world's arsenal here in the states but the Kurds can't get decent equipment and daesh runs around in humvees.

What kind of electronics were you able to bring?

NandosLoL1 karma

Yeah sunglasses bro, definitely. Take more than one notebook with you too.. If you can get to a bazaar when you get to Iraq you can pick up a few military pieces like scopes, chest rigs, plates and binoculars.

Yeah I know, its a big problem!

I took my phone and tablet. Someone I knew brought his sat phone, laptop and a GPS also too. It all depends on what the security are like each day at the airport!

HidingNow420691 karma

They literally sell military equipment at the bazaar? Holy fuck.

NandosLoL1 karma

Of course most of it is second hand though.

tgmsmith1 karma

did you come into any hand to hand physical contact with any isis fighters?

NandosLoL3 karma

Nope, sadly not!

Daedroth4971 karma

What previous military experience have you had? I assume they don't just give anyone a gun. And also thanks for fighting the good fight.

NandosLoL2 karma

No military experience whatsoever, I wasn't the only one without it either.

No problem, you're welcome!

Daedroth4971 karma

I suppose then I'd like to ask about the selection process. What made you a better candidate than others? I would think that there are more applying to join than can realistically but correct if I'm wrong in that assumption.

NandosLoL1 karma

I guess I was just lucky.. I sent an email saying that I would be happy to help in any way possible if I couldn't fight.

Of course the process before you actually get yourself on a rifle is where they take a closer look on you. I guess they make their own decision if they think we are someone they would like to fight with!

mananlak0 karma

Hmm, doesn't that reveal they are desperate for recruitment?

Do you think they have the forces to win out over ISIS in the long term?

How long do you think will it take (assuming UN intervention) for ISIS to be neutralized?

NandosLoL3 karma

In the long term, yes I'd hope so!

Assuming UN intervention I'd say it could be over in a couple of years, let's hope it happens.

snorlz1 karma

what was the most intense fighting you were in?

can you speak arabic?

NandosLoL1 karma

Can't speak Arabic.

Pretty intense when we went to lay mines next to a Daesh village. Hearing them in the dark only feet away in a building without them knowing we were there. One of us fires a Bisfing into the building, shit goes everywhere and a fire fight happens.

That wasretty memorable!

snorlz1 karma

did they speak english then?

did you have a lot of firefights with ISIS or was it pretty infrequent to run into them?

NandosLoL1 karma

Some groups had a translator, but we got by with the minimal Kumanji we knew and the minimal English they knew.

Infrequent but there was pop-shots with a Dragunov or Dushka everyday.

Panzerkampfpony1 karma

What was morale like among the YPG members you saw? did it change much and were coalition airstrikes having a big effect on morale.?

NandosLoL2 karma

Morale was very high, lots of singing and dancing! Yeah definitely, Syria is a fly free zone.. The only jets we saw were F16's which they called "Heval Obama". Cheers were often heard when we saw and heard them!

Panzerkampfpony1 karma

Which Canton did you fight in, Cizire or Kobani?

NandosLoL2 karma

Cizire Canton

dan_the_man85581 karma

Did you ever witness any captured Daesh fighters and how do the Kurds treat captured fighters?

NandosLoL1 karma

Nope, nothing like that. There wasn't any survivors when we went to inspect after a firefight.

DelBoogs1 karma

What is the relationship like between the SAA and YPG?

NandosLoL3 karma

I didn't come across the SAA while I was there, so I can't comment on that relationship

Sunkendrailor1 karma

Did any of your forces get seriously injured or killed?

NandosLoL1 karma

On the day I left my taboure, one of our terps fell unconscious due to heat exhaustion, lack of food and sleep. I still have no idea if he is alright.

That's the only thing that happened in my group in terms of injuries.

Hakim_Slackin1 karma

How do you feel about the YPG's ideological aspect? What was the toilet situation like?

NandosLoL2 karma

I didn't really take any of their ideology in tbh, I wasn't there for that so I can't comment.

The toilet situation however, aslong as you had wipes or tissue then you crap wherever you can and bury it. If you're lucky you can find a Western toilet or a makeshift one. I never went full native and used s hose without paper though!

Hakim_Slackin1 karma

Boobytraps, were they common?

NandosLoL2 karma

The only one I saw was at an unmanned YPG position that was not in use anymore. Just a small antipersonnel mine, no bigger than a shoebox.

Hakim_Slackin1 karma

How physically demanding was life on the frontlines and during combat? Thank you answering all these questions!

NandosLoL3 karma

It was definitely demanding, mentally and physically. The lack of food and clean water was a big factor.

Combat was fine because you are filled with adrenaline.

The heat is one battle you have to try and get through though... No wind, no shade and like I said, hardly any water!

Panzerkampfpony1 karma

Were there any opportunities to get a cheeky Nandos in Kurdistan?

NandosLoL2 karma

Hahaha, if only! Only boiled chicken...!

Prunestand1 karma

Are you afraid of being captures by ISIL fighters? How do you deal with your fears?

NandosLoL1 karma

I never was because I knew we we capable of beating them before they got to us. If they so happen to be on the verge of capturing me, I would have a grenade ready to take myself and the scum trying to get at me.

BeeGravy1 karma

Not to take away from you or your experiences but I find it funny how everyone is commending you, but many, many ppl shit on the US military for the wars on terror. So many ppl saying they'd wish they could go help. Well the war on terror has been going for 10+ years, why not anxious to join the actual national military then? Plus real deployment are what 7-12 months.

Also find it crazy they accept ppl with no military experience and training go there. I heard that Peshmerga was asking even those with experience not to go over any more, and know many vets who would love to help, and feel a connection with that region for having already fought and bled there before...

But good for you, it's good to see ppl who want to help and put their money where their mouth is.

NandosLoL3 karma

Yeah mate I understand. I got into a well paid job in retail from when I left school so my time was taken up with that. I did try for the Royal Navy but my knees were too weak at the time. The YPG did say that we could leave at any time as I was a Volunteer, and any time spent over there as a foreigner means so much to them.

We do get some form of training, mainly weapon handling but training none the less. I was with a good group of people, a couple of Rangers who had served in Iraq, ex-British Army guys, and a couple French Foreign Legion chaps. They were happy to teach me things but I felt comfortable in my ways to not need extensive training.

I thought Peshmerga are saying that to the people only wanting to join the Pesh? I'm not sure though.

danieleplay1 karma

Have you killed any of them / watched any of them die during your staying?

NandosLoL2 karma

Can confirm I was involved in a firefight that killed multiple ISIS.

Xenoharmonium-16 karma

middle east full with supernatural story.........have been you meet something supernatural sir ?

like meet jinn race maybe ?

NandosLoL2 karma

Errrrrrr... Yes?

Xenoharmonium-12 karma

have been you meet supernatural creature like ghost,demon,jinn etc in middle east or other strange event ?

NandosLoL4 karma

Unfortunately I did not.