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Kurds and Their Allies Form a New Multiethnic Force in Syria

  • Leaders of the Syrian Democratic Force deliver a statement in a joint press conference.

    Leaders of the Syrian Democratic Force deliver a statement in a joint press conference. | Photo: Hawar News Agency

Published 16 October 2015

The new military force includes the Kurdish YPG militia and other democratic forces allied in the fight against the Islamic State group.

A new coalition of Kurds, Arabs and Assyrians has been formally declared in Syria following a meeting Thursday between the leaders of several revolutionary groups. Called the Syrian Democratic Forces, the group promises to fight for a free and secular Syria.

“It was agreed during this extensive assembly that unity of those democratic forces fighting in the country is an essential step for the revolution in Syria,” said a statement posted Oct. 15 on the official website of the People’s Defense Units, the Kurdish militias known as the YPG and YPJ.

The meeting took place in a part of Syria called Rojava. Kurdish militias and their allies in the region have fended off several attacks from the Islamic State group over the past two years, most famously in Kobane.

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According to the official statement, “there is an important need for unity among democratic military forces for the current state in Syria to bring back peace to country.” To that end, the new organization will include “a joint command and control body and a military council” to “coordinate between these revolutionary forces.” The statement also called on the international coalition fighting the Islamic State group to support the group's effort to bring “peace and unity to Syria”.

At the same time, the statement admits that “the revolution was strayed from its right path” in Syria due to some groups’ dependence on external forces.

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“To support and defend all Syrian people against all foreign and domestic threats, the Syrian Democratic Forces will act upon legitimate defense, therefore the Syrian Democratic Forces is a national force in a future Syria,” the statement added. All groups that support the “democratic revolution” in Syria are welcomed to join, it said.

The new alliance includes a total of 13 groups, including the YPG, Jaysh al-Thuwwar (Army of Rebels), an Arab tribal militia known as Jaysh al-Sanadeed, and an Assyrian Christian group.

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