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Kurdish Syria, Where the Fallen Find Fame

That is more than just talk. Babies are given the names of the war dead; friends change their names to those of famous fighters who have been killed, or just of fallen friends.

An American, David Taylor, died in July while fighting the Islamic State in Raqqa, Syria. Video by YPG PRESS OFFICE

Some Kurds even seem to invite death in war, which their American advisers say makes them formidable in battle — though likely to take considerable casualties. The Americans have expressed consternation that the Kurds will seldom wear body armor or helmets, even when they have the equipment.

Honoring the Briton Erik Scurfield, who fought with Kurds against the Islamic State and died in 2015. Video by Ronahi TV English

“We have a lot of that stuff here, somewhere in storage,” said Haqi Kobani, the deputy commander in charge of administration for the Syrian Democratic Forces, at the militia’s headquarters in northern Syria. “No one ever wants to wear them.”

Of female fighters, suicide attackers are the most highly praised, and pictures of them are displayed especially prominently, as with the recent case of Avesta Khabur, who blew herself up to destroy a Turkish tank in Afrin. Within two days, her face was everywhere in northern Syria.

In the cemetery for war dead in Qamishli, a city in northern Syria, Farhan Ebid, his son and a friend were planting an olive tree this month in front of the grave of another son, Orhan Qamislo, who died fighting with the Syrian Democratic Forces in Manbij at age 21.

Mr. Ebid’s son Abdulrazaq, 19, then joined the Y.P.G. to replace his brother, taking his brother’s backpack, his rifle — and his name. So he is now also called Orhan Qamislo; even his father addresses him as Orhan.

“When he took his name, it was like my son the martyr had never died,” Mr. Ebid said.

Source: NYT > World

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