3 Americans fighting alongside Kurds in Syria against ISIS, official says

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(CNN) — Three Americans are fighting alongside Kurdish forces against the Islamic State terror group in northern Syria, a spokesman for the Kurdish group told CNN on Thursday.

One of the Americans was identified by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, also known as the YPG, as Jordan Matson of Wisconsin.

Matson is fighting in Haska province near the town of Jazaa, close to the Iraqi border, YPG spokesman Redur Xelil said by telephone.

Intense fighting between ISIS and YPG has been reported in the region in recent weeks.

Xelil declined to provide further details about Matson and the other two Americans, and he did not say if they were fighting in the same area.

A photo has been posted by a Kurdish news agency purporting to show Matson, and the picture of the man appears to resemble Facebook photos of a man identifying himself as Matson.

Twitter posts, purporting to have taken messages from Matson’s Facebook page, say he left for Syria in September and that he suffered a minor wound while fighting ISIS. The Facebook page says he attended Case High School in Racine.

CNN cannot confirm the validity of the posts, but the report of his injury was confirmed by Xelil, who said Matson was injured a few days ago and was fine.

A person claiming to be a friend of Matson’s told Reuters that Matson told people he was being hired by a private army to fight ISIS.

“He sent me a personal Facebook message on the 16th of September saying ‘Hey boss, I’m heading to Syria,'” Miguel Caron told the news agency.

Matson was previously in the U.S. military, Caron said.

Caron did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment.

The U.S. military confirmed a man by the name of Jordan Matson enlisted in the Army in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, and served from May 2006 to November 2007.

“We’re certainly aware of these reports,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters during a briefing on Thursday. “Because of privacy concerns we can’t speak to it further.”

Psaki said she was not aware of a specific law barring Americans from going abroad to join military organizations that have not been designated a foreign-terror organization.

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