Grandfather Leaves His Home And Family To Fight Against ISIS In Iraq
A British grandfather with no military training allegedly left home earlier this year to fight the Islamic State in Iraq.
According to Daily Mail, in April, 53-year-old Jim Atherton of Tyne and Wear joined a Kurdish, Christian militia to defend Christian villages from the militant group.
The van driver discovered the militia online and decided he would leave his wife, three kids and four rescued dachshunds to take on the terrorist group.
Atherton said he wants to show his grandchildren "what [he's] really about" and felt a responsibility to go after his brother died fighting in Iraq in 2006.
He told The Sun,
I couldn't stand seeing IS killing women and kids. No one seemed to be doing anything about it, so I decided I would… People were commenting online about IS atrocities then five minutes later it was all forgotten.
Atherton spent almost 12 months trying to sell his Sierra Cosworth, two motorcycles and his boat to buy a plane ticket to Turkey, a Glock pistol, AK-47 machine gun and a shotgun, Daily Mail reports.
He now fights on the front line as a member of Dwekh Nawsha, or "The Sacrificers." The group features volunteer soldiers from Europe, Australia and the US.
Atherton said he is "fairly savvy with weapons" because his father, who was a soldier as well, participated in competitive shooting.
Atherton suffered a heart attack in 2007, but he told The Sun he's "done all right" when faced with attacks while patrolling.
He reportedly wrote on Facebook,
I'm not anti-Islam, I'm not a violent person and I'm deffo (sic) not a killer…[but] I'm willing to fight that fight for those who can't.
Last month, Atherton flew back home for a two-week break.
His family and national security officers urged him to stay in Britain, but he vowed he will remain in Iraq until the Islamic State is vanquished.
Currently stationed in Dohuk, Kurdistan, Atherton continues protecting Christian villages under the threat of the Islamic State.