Canadian-Israeli who Fought Alongside Kurds Returns to Israel

Gill Rosenberg, the Canadian-Israeli woman who went to Syria to fight alongside Kurdish forces, is back in Israel, i24news reported on Sunday.

In an interview with the news network, Rosenberg, 31, said that she joined the Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units in Syrian Kurdistan) to help them fight the radical Islamic State (ISIS) group that has claimed swathes of territory in region.

"It feels very surreal, but I'm glad to be home," Rosenberg said.

It was Kol Yisrael public radio that first reported last November that Rosenberg had joined the Kurdish fighters.

Born in Vancouver, she reportedly made aliyah in 2006 and served in the IDF's Home Front rescue unit. She was arrested in 2009 and extradited to the U.S., after being charged with taking part in an international scam which tricked American pensioners out of funds totaling $25 million.

Rosenberg was convicted and sentenced to four years in jail, but was released and expelled from the U.S.

Rosenberg told i24news that she eventually switched from the YPG to a unit in Iraq that was working alongside the Peshmerga.

"I was in the Israeli army a few years ago," she affirmed. "I went through basic training and then [with the Kurds] I was trained to use all kinds of weapons that I was not yet familiar with."

"We were either holding lines to stop Daesh (ISIS) from moving forward or we were actively engaging them in fighting," she told the English-language news channel.

Rosenberg said she decided to leave the area and return to Israel because she "couldn't stand to see all these women and children being raped and mutilated and tortured and killed and sold into sex slavery."

"The situation is not good, there are three million refugees in Kurdistan," she said. "It's the women and children that are primarily suffering more than anyone."

Reports surfaced on jihadist websites in December that ISIS had captured Rosenberg, but sources in the Kurdish underground in Syria denied  that she had been in the Kobane region, as claimed by the websites. 

Rosenberg, who occasionally posted updates on Facebook while in Syria, dispelled those rumors, writing that she was “totally safe and secure” and calling her friends to “ignore the reports I've been captured.”


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