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People's Protection Units
People's Protection Units Flag.svg
Official flag of the People's Protection Units
Active 2011–present
Country Syria
Allegiance Western Kurdistan[1]
Democratic Union Party (de facto)
Type Light infantry (militia)
Role Regional defence
Armed resistance
Size 45,000[2][3]–50,000[4]
Nickname(s) YPG
Engagements

Syrian civil war

Commanders
General Commander Sipan Hemo
Ceremonial chief Rêdûr Xelîl
Spokesperson Khebat Ibrahim
Notable
commanders
Nujin Dirik (Aleppo commander)
Giwan Ibrahim (Qamishli commander)
Cemşîd Osman (Ras al-Ayn commander)
Roshna Akeed (Ras al-Ayn commander)


The People's Protection Units (Kurdish language: Yekîneyên Parastina Gel; Arabic: وحدات حماية الشعب [5] Wihdat Himayah ash-Sha'ab), commonly known as the YPG, are the official armed wing of the Kurdish Supreme Committee. The militia has been accused of acting as the armed wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), although they deny this. The group has taken a defensive position, fighting against any group that has the intention of bringing the Syrian civil war to Kurdish inhabited areas.[6][7] The group was founded by the PYD and the Kurdish Supreme Committee after the 2004 Qamishli clashes but it was not until recently they became active.[6] As of the signing of the Arbil Agreement by PYD and KNC the Armed Wing came under the command of the Kurdish supreme Committee though in reality it is almost exclusively still the armed wing of the former[8]—and is responsible for maintaining order and protecting the lives of residents in Kurdish neighbourhoods.[9][10][11]

The YPG is composed of men and women from communities across the Kurdish region of Syria. The YPG considers itself a democratic people's militia and conducts internal elections as a method of appointing officers.[12] Though predominantly Kurdish, the group has attracted increasing numbers of Arabs, including fighters defecting from the mainstream opposition[13] as well as locals from mixed or Arab villages in YPG-controlled territory who see the group as the best guarantor of regional security;[14] a number of non-Kurdish Christians also fight in YPG ranks, and the militia has close ties to the Assyrian/Syriac Sutoro and Syriac Military Council. They are known for their large number of women fighters.[15]

In late July 2012, the People's Protection Units pushed out government security forces from the city of Kobanê (Ayn al-Arab) and took over Amuda and Efrîn.[10][11][16] As of December 2012, the YPG consists of eight brigades. Some of these brigades operate in Efrin, Qamishli, Kobane and Sere Kanye.[17]

Conflict has grown between the YPG and Islamists after they expelled a group of Jihadists from the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain.[18]

See also

References

  1. "PYD Announces Surprise Interim Government in Syria's Kurdish Regions". Rudaw.net. http://rudaw.net/english/middleeast/syria/13112013. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  2. Kurds Build Bridges At Last
  3. Die Saat geht auf
  4. In Syria, Kurds are fighting their own war against Islamists, and winning Public Radio International, 26 November 2013
  5. "صالح مسلم: وحدات حماية الشعب قوة لحماية شعب غرب كردستان، وغير تابعة لنا". Hawarnews.com. http://hawarnews.com/index.php/2013-02-14-17-56-33/2093-2013-05-08-07-16-14. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Gold, Danny (2012-10-31). "Meet the YPG, the Kurdish Militia That Doesn't Want Help from Anyone | VICE United States". Vice.com. http://www.vice.com/read/meet-the-ypg. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  7. "Rudaw". Rudaw. http://rudaw.net/english/interview/22072013. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  8. van Wilgenburg, Wladimir (5 April 2013). "Conflict Intensifies In Syria's Kurdish Area". Syria Pulse. Al Monitor. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/04/conflict-intensifies-syrian-kurdish-region.html. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  9. "The battle for control in Syria". Daily News Egypt. http://thedailynewsegypt.com/2012/07/21/the-battle-for-control-in-syria/. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Liberated Kurdish Cities in Syria Move into Next Phase". 25 July 2012. http://www.rudaw.net/english/news/syria/4999.html. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Kurdish muscle flexing". 14 November 2012. http://www.jpost.com/Features/InThespotlight/Article.aspx?id=291764. Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  12. "A Rare Glimpse Into Kurdish Armed Forces in Syria". http://www.rudaw.net/english/news/syria/5051.html. 
  13. Meseguer, David (9 February 2013). "Arabs join Kurdish militia in Aleppo". Firat News. http://en.firatnews.com/news/news/arabs-join-kurdish-militia-in-aleppo.htm. Retrieved 10 February 2013. 
  14. Smith, Hannah Lucinda (23 December 2013). "The Boy who Grew up to Betray his Village". Asharq Al-Awsat. http://www.aawsat.net/2013/12/article55325141. Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  15. "Al Nusra attacks YPG's women fighters in Serekaniye | ANF". En.firatnews.com. 2013-07-16. http://en.firatnews.com/news/news/al-nusra-attacks-ypg-s-women-fighters-in-serekaniye.htm. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  16. Kurds Give Ultimatum to Syrian Security Forces
  17. "ScientiaHumana.org". ScientiaHumana.org. http://scientiahumana.org/2012/12/04/the-kurdish-protection-units-have-formed-a-new-brigade-in-the-al-bab-region/. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  18. "Kurds expel jihadists from flashpoint Syrian town: NGO - Region - World - Ahram Online". English.ahram.org.eg. 2013-07-17. http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/76750/World/Region/Kurds-expel-jihadists-from-flashpoint-Syrian-town-.aspx. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 

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