A surfer has decided to ditch his board to take up arms against the brutal Islamic Militant group ISIS. Dean Parker, a 49-year-old originally from West Palm Beach Florida, told MailOnline that he ‘heard gods call’ to join the Kurds in their fight against ISIS in Syria.
He said he was initially moved to fight when he saw a television report about the Yazidi minority who were trapped by ISIS fighters on Mount Sinjar.
At that moment, he decided to quit his job as a surf instructor in Costa Rica, and take up arms against ISIS.
“I knew I had to come, and never in the month before coming here did I have any doubt,” Parker told news outlets.
He left behind his friends and family and only notified them via Facebook on November 2, which was five days after arriving in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
“The only way to try to explain this, is that I heard God’s call… I’m not much for words except I love you all my friends, I’m in very good hands,” he wrote.
Parker joined the Lions of Rojava who are part of the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit also known at the YPG. He wrote on Facebook that he began his military training in Rojava which is a Syrian town near the Turkish border.
The Facebook page for the Lions of Rojava show a number of volunteers from the West who have joined them to fight ISIS.
Check out our photo gallery to see more about Parker’s life transition from surf instructor to volunteer for the Kurdish fight against ISIS.