When describing the global struggle against the so-called Islamic State (IS), few people would think of China and its citizens.
But one Chinese national claims to have entered Syria to join the Kurdish militia group, the Popular Protection Units (YPG), one of the largest groups fighting against IS.
The YPG is a key ally of the US-led international coalition against IS, and has driven the militants from several Syrian border towns this year, backed by coalition airstrikes.
Ba Si Pan, as he calls himself, may be the first Chinese national fighting IS in Syria with the YPG. He won’t reveal his full name, but says Ba Si is his name in Kurdish.
The 25-year-old says he has fought on the frontline in Kobane twice.
Yet when I spoke with him by phone, he sounded calm and composed – despite not speaking any English or Arabic, and having to communicate with fellow fighters with an electronic dictionary.
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