- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 16, 2015

A 25-year-old mother of three from North Carolina has left her family to fight with Kurdish troops against Islamic State militants in Iraq.

Samantha Johnston, from Emerald Island, previously served in the U.S. Army as a geospatial engineer. She is now believed to have joined the Kurdish Peshmerga troops who are battling the Sunni radical terror group in northern Iraq and Syria, The Daily Mail reported Friday.

Ms. Johnston said she felt like it was her duty to fight with the Kurds, the newspaper reported. She also told the Daily Caller that she cried “all the way to the airport” and nearly changed her mind about leaving, but decided if she did not go she would never forgive herself.

“These children here who are homeless, orphaned; mothers and sisters have been raped and sold, father who have been killed, they are suffering, and I knew that I couldn’t just sit and do nothing,” Ms. Johnston said, The Daily Caller reported.

“I couldn’t look my children in the eyes and say, ‘I didn’t do anything to help,’” she added.

Ms. Johnston told The Daily Caller that she joined the Kurdish fighters by seeking them out, saying she “made the right connections and verified they were reliable.”

The Times reported that photos of Ms. Johnston in military fatigues were circulating on Kurdish news websites.

Ms. Johnston said that she plans to start a humanitarian organization after she returns to help support the Kurdish community, the Daily Mail reported.

There are estimated to be around 100 westerners fighting with Kurdish forces against the Islamic State group, which has recruited thousands of foreign fighters.

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