Christopher is a former bike racer, photographer who’s now a metalworker. Chris, his roommate in Brooklyn, New York, is a theatre director.
But a year ago they took a break from their jobs and went to Syria, to fight the Islamic State.
Despite the thousands of ISIS fighters that foreign recruits, official American involvement in Raqqa was limited to airstrikes and small teams of elite special forces troops. But the YPG, a socialist Kurdish militia that dominated the SDF coalition, also drew hundreds of foreign, less experienced fighters. The two Brooklynites, Christopher and Chris, met while fighting for the YPG and were there on the day Raqqa officially changed hands.
Before traveling to Syria, Christopher spent most of his time with bikes, racing and fixing them, while Chris dedicated himself to Shakespearean theatre. Like many foreign fighters, Chris decided to hide his involvement in the Syrian war, avoiding social media, and only telling close friends and family where he was.Christopher, on the other hand, built a small Instagram following where he posted updates from the battle in Raqqa and propagandized in support of Kurdish revolutionaries.
VICE News Tonight met Christopher and Chris, in New York, to ask what compelled them to fight for the Kurdish cause.
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