Gill Rosenberg. All photos via Facebook.
Earlier this afternoon, reports emerged from Israeli news agencies that a Canadian woman named Gill Rosenberg had joined Kurdish forces in northern Iraq to help them fight the Islamic State.
The reports say Rosenberg immigrated to Israel to fight for the Israeli Defence Forces and trained at some point as a civil aviation pilot.
Photos from Rosenberg's Facebook profile show her in uniform for the IDF. One shows her brandishing semi-automatic assault rifles in both hands wearing the familiar green fatigues of the IDF.
In the same profile Rosenberg says she's a native of White Rock, British Columbia and lists her current city as Tel Aviv.
Rosenberg reportedly took a plane from Amman airport in Jordan to Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq.
Over the last year Canadians joining the ranks of ISIS have become common. Indeed, I've communicated with several through online channels and they admittedly use Twitter and other social media tools to attract new recruits.
Not unlike those same Canadians who are known to have joined ISIS, Rosenberg reportedly communicated with Kurdish forces over the internet before joining their ranks.
According to her Facebook profile, friends of Rosenberg were somewhat aware of her plans to head to Kurdistan. On November 9th, one friend appears to encourage her plans to fight with the Kurds.
"Stay safe my friend," said the friend. "You are one tough woman and TERMINATE ISIS!!!!"
Other pictures from November 9th show Rosenberg in the Rojava Mountains of Kurdistan. It's not immediately clear whether she had joined any armed forces before those photos were taken.
One friend with apparent Israeli origins cautions against Rosenberg's plans to fight with the Kurds:
"Sorry to disappoint you but in Israel if you want to fight there is enough to do! We need you in Israel! Gentiles never helped us in general except few exceptions. Comeback home fight for your Land Israel only!" said the Israeli friend.
A spokesperson for Foreign Affairs told VICE they are "aware of reports that a Canadian individual has joined Kurdish forces."
Canadian officials advise against all travel to Iraq or Syria, excluding the areas in Iraq controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government.
"Canadians in Iraq or Syria should consider departing by commercial means if it is safe to do so," said the same Foreign Affairs spokesperson. "Canadians travelling to those countries should review their security arrangements on a regular basis. The Government of Canada's ability to provide consular assistance in all parts of Iraq and Syria is severely limited."
Kurdish forces are no strangers to Canadian military assistance. The Peshmerga, famous Kurdish fighters, are currently being training by Canadian Special Forces operators while Canadian CF-18s bomb Islamic State targets. The Kurds are
seeking their own sovereign state and have taken advantage of Iraqi turmoil seizing new lands.
It's not yet clear whether or not Rosenberg joined one of the YPG's famous all female brigades facing down ISIS on the frontlines of an ever evolving Iraqi civil war.
But one thing is for sure: it's insane that a Canadian who already joined one foreign army with an eye for waging war in the Middle East, hopped over to another military entity currently under siege. And one that might just have her fighting with Canadians training the Kurds, and against the other Canadians among the ISIS ranks.
For her part, Rosenberg seems defiant and excited by the prospect of facing off against ISIS forces.
"In the IDF, we say אחריי - After Me. Let's show ISIS what that means," she said days ago on her Facebook profile.