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Onward 'Christian Soldiers': First American Volunteer Dies Fighting ISIS

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Onward 'Christian Soldiers': First American Volunteer Dies Fighting ISIS

Some of the foreign fighters flocking to Iraq and Syria are taking the side of persecuted Christians.

The first American volunteer to die fighting ISIS in defense of persecuted Syrian and Iraqi Christians will be laid to rest Wednesday.

Keith Broomfield, 36, had been in Syria for four months with the secular Kurdish People’s Protection Units. On June 3, he was killed during a skirmish with ISIS fighters near Kobani, a city in northern Syria.

Broomfield felt “led by the Lord” to enter the fight despite his lack of military training, his father told CBS.

“He turned his life over to the Lord and he decided this was God's will and God wanted him to do it," his mother told NBC.

“I’m here to do what I can,” Broomfield said in an earlier video. “With everything that’s been going on, it seems like the right thing to do.”

According to his obituary, Broomfield died “fighting in defense of those being persecuted for their Christian faith. His heart was for the protection of the innocence of Kurdish women and children.”

His funeral services will be held at a Baptist church in Massachusetts. His family asked that any donations in his memory be made to Samaritan’s Purse.

A week after Broomfield’s death, President Barack Obama announced the deployment of up to 450 more troops to train Iraqi forces to more effectively fight against ISIS, NPR reports.

In a recent open letter, the Southern Baptist Convention had asked him to do just that. “Mr. President, just as Esther led forward for the deliverance of the Jews in her day, we believe you also ‘have come to the kingdom for such a time as this,’” SBC president Ronnie Floyd wrote in March.

Some Christians, like Broomfield, are not waiting for official word before heading to the Middle East to join the fight. As thousands of foreigners flock to the Middle East to plug into ISIS, a growing number of Westerners are heading to Iraq and Syria to join local militias and defend the region's Christian minorities.

Media outlets have documented several groups in the region training Christians for battle.

One training group, sponsored by the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM), trained 500 recruits in February thanks to donations, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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