Kurds, Arabs form joint military force to combat ISIS in Syria

People gathered near Derbassiyah town in northeastern Syria, bidding farewell to Arab fighters who were killed while backing Kurdish forces of the YPG against ISIS. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

QAMISHLI – Syria’s Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and several Arab rebel groups have formed a new alliance under the banner “Syrian Democratic Forces” to combat extremists of the Islamic State (ISIS) group.  

The step comes after Washington announced “pausing” a plan to train and equip Syrian rebels to fight ISIS. The new alliance will most likely be more effective in the battle against jihadists, according to observers.

“This sensitive phase in Syria’s history, and the dramatic developments at the military and political levels, require a united national military force for all Syrians, including Kurds, Arabs and other components,” leadership of the Kurdish YPG forces said in a statement on Monday.

The alliance of the Syrian Democratic Forces consists of several Syrian rebel groups that have backed the YPG fighters in battles against ISIS jihadists, including the mostly-Arab Burkan al-Furat force. 

Also, Arab tribes and Syriac Christians are listed as part of the newly established alliance.

The U.S.-led coalition has already provided the Kurdish forces with air cover during battles against ISIS in northern Syria, as Kurds have shown a remarkable bravery in the war on terrorist groups over the past three years. 

In the meantime, the growing strength of the YPG has raised Turkey’s concerns, as Ankara considers the YPG as a branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). 

The U.S. support for Syria’s Kurds has also caused resentment among other Syrian rebel groups who have constantly asked for air support and weapons over more than four years of war.

On the other hand, the YPG forces have repeatedly ousted the terror group and reported more gains in northern Syria, backed by rebels of Burkan al-Furat and Liwa’ Thuwar al-Raqqa.

In January, the Kurdish forces and allied rebels, supported by the Peshmerga, were able to push ISIS out of the border town of Kobane after four months of heavy fighting and U.S.-led airstrikes. 

In June, the same factions liberated the key town of Tel Abyad (Gire Spi) on the border line with Turkey from ISIS, cutting off the main transit route to Raqqa, the ISIS de facto capital in Syria. 

Several parties in the Syrian opposition have regarded the YPG as an ally to the Syrian regime in the Kurdish region, because of the careful line the Kurdish forces have taken since the start of the anti-Assad uprising in 2011. 

Despite years of repression by Assad regime, Kurds were able to take up arms and build a strong military force in the Kurdish populated areas in northern Syria. They were able to establish an autonomous governance in Qamishli, Kobane and Afrin. 

Reporting by: Egid Ibrahim 

Source: ARA News

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  1. George
    October 22, 2015 at 12:39 am

    Unity will be the key to winning this battle. Fragmentation and lack of compromise is a weakness.

  2. George
    October 22, 2015 at 12:44 am

    “United we stand. Divided we fall.” …………Patrick Henry made this comment at a critical time during the American Revolution.

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