Exclusive: Syrian Kurdish YPG aims to expand force to over 100,000

By Means Of BEIRUT

The Syrian Kurdish YPG militia objectives to extend its power By Using about two-thirds to more than 100,000 opponents this yr, it told Reuters, a plan that might strengthen self sustaining Kurdish enclaves which are of deep situation to neighboring Turkey.

The YPG, which is playing a crucial FUNCTION within the U.S.-backed marketing campaign towards Islamic State in Syria, has launched a major pressure this 12 months to show itself into a more organized pressure comparable to a military, spokesman Redur Xelil said.

The militia, which had 60,000 fighters on the end of 2016 – including its all-female affiliate, the YPJ – has already formed 10 new battalions because the begin of this yr, Each constituted of around 300 opponents, he stated.

“We aspire to exceed A Hundred,000,” Xelil stated according to written questions from Reuters. Requested how quickly the YPG aimed to succeed in this target, he mentioned: “The 2d 1/2 of 2017.”

The YPG, or Folks’s Protection Gadgets, effectively serves because the armed forces of the independent Kurdish-led regions which emerged in northern Syria with the retreat of state authority in 2011 that accompanied the outbreak of civil warfare.

The militia is financed By Means Of the administrations of these areas. The drive and its political affiliate, the PYD, are adversarial now not most effective By Means Of Turkey but By Means Of the Kurdish authorities in neighboring Iraq. Their relationship with the Syrian government, despite ancient enmity, is more nuanced, with the edges largely having evaded battle in the six-yr-old struggle.

Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Birthday Celebration (PKK), which has fought a three-decade insurgency in Turkey, and as a chance to Turkish security.

The Turkish armed forces launched a militia incursion into Syria last year aimed at blockading additional growth of Kurdish keep watch over in a local of northern Syria known in Kurdish as Rojava.

The 10 new Devices and different new battalions to be fashioned this yr will likely be skilled in all types of fight, weaponry and techniques, with the intention of turning the YPG right into a extra geared up force that resembles a traditional army, Xelil said.

“A disciplined, cohesive armed forces pressure, neatly-educated in numerous ways of conflict … is the true assure to protect us and to affirm our presence as a great nation that deserves dignity,” says a YPG leaflet in the hunt for recruits for the brand new battalions that has been circulated within the predominantly Kurdish regions of Syria, which is house to roughly 2 million Kurds.

Each fighter will receive a monthly earnings of $200, which is $20 above the maximum wage at present paid to YPG fighters, Xelil mentioned.

RAQQA POSITION

Syrian Kurdish groups centered the three autonomous administrations in Kurdish-dominated areas of northern Syria as Syrian state control collapsed in so much of the country, putting in place their very own bureaucracies along with safety forces.

Officers say their revenue streams embrace taxes on agricultural produce, and income raised By Way Of promoting oil from fields in northeastern Syria, though they say handiest enough is bought to fulfill local desires.

The YPG is playing a key FUNCTION in an ongoing U.S.-backed campaign to isolate Islamic State’s base of operations at Raqqa.

YPG commander Sipan Hemo instructed Reuters last week that the operation to storm Raqqa was once due to begin in early April, and the YPG would make up 1 / 4 of the pressure in an effort to take town alongside allied Arab combatants. The Pentagon stated no determination had been taken but.

Xelil stated the new battalions were not taking part within the operation to encircle Raqqa. He declined to say if the brand new training application was supported Through any foreign militaries.

The YPG’s 60,000-robust strength comprises the YPJ – the all-feminine militia that numbers around 24,000, Xelil stated. Each female and male warring parties are being sought in the recruitment drive.

The dominant Syrian Kurdish teams and their allies goal to deepen their autonomy throughout the institution of a new gadget of federal executive within the north. The Kurds, systematically persecuted for years Via the Syrian state, say their goal will not be independence.

Hemo informed Reuters that the YPG aimed to “struggle terrorism” all over in Syria, while its political priority used to be “guaranteeing the rights of the Kurdish Folks in Syria legally, constitutionally”.

He additionally signaled a readiness on the part of the YPG to succeed in a long-time period accommodation with the Syrian government, pronouncing “there will likely be no problem with the regime” once Kurdish rights are secured.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said his opposition to the regional federal adaptation which the dominant Syrian Kurdish groups say must be the option to the Syrian conflict. Assad has vowed to take back all of Syria.

For photograph on combat for keep watch over in Syria, click on: tmsnrt.rs/2l02TCA

(Writing By Tom Perry; Modifying By Using Pravin Char)

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