International Freedom Battalion

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International Freedom Battalion
Tabûra Azadî ya Înternasyonal
Participant in the Rojava conflict and the Syrian Civil War
Banner used by the International Freedom Battalion
Banner used by the International Freedom Battalion
Active10 June 2015 – present
StatusActive
IdeologyRevolutionary socialism
Proletarian internationalism
Anti-fascism
Factions:
Anarchism
Communism
Political positionFar-left
Group(s)See groups
Area of operationsRojava, Syria
Allies Syrian Democratic Forces

International Antifascist Battalion[1][2]
Logo of Antifascist Forces in Afrin.svg Antifascist Forces in Afrin
TKP-Kıvılcım
Kurdistan Workers' Party

Opponent(s) Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
 Turkey
Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army
Battles and war(s)Syrian Civil War
Flag
Flag of the International Freedom Battalion.svg
Insignia
International Freedom Battalion's Badge.svg

The International Freedom Battalion (Turkish: Enternasyonalist Özgürlük Taburu; Kurdish: Tabûra Azadî ya Înternasyonal‎; Arabic: تابور الحرية العالمي‎), commonly abbreviated as IFB or EÖT, is an armed group consisting of leftist foreign fighters fighting for the People's Protection Units in the Syrian Civil War in support of the Rojava Revolution and against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.[4][5] The formation of the International Freedom Battalion was announced on 10 June 2015 in Serê Kaniyê (Ras al-Ayn).[6][7] Inspiration for the group came from the International Brigades of the Spanish Civil War. The political ideologies of the fighters include Marxism–Leninism, Hoxhaism, Maoism, and anarchism.

Main groups[edit]

The International Freedom Battalion is made up of fighters from left-wing armed groups (as well as individuals not part of any other groups) most of whom had been fighting with the YPG before the creation of the International Freedom Battalion. These groups include:

Marksist-Leninist Komünist Partisi[edit]

Marxist–Leninist Communist Party (Turkish: Marksist-Leninist Komünist Partisi, abbreviated as MLKP) is an underground Hoxhaist communist party from Turkey. MLKP fighters had been reportedly been sent to Syria to fight with the People's Protection Units since 2012. MLKP fighters have also joined Kurdistan Workers' Party fighting in Northern Iraq in defence of the Yezidi minority in Sinjar.[8] In April 2015, it was announced that MLKP founded a permanent military training centre in the PKK-controlled areas of the Iraqi Kurdistan.[9] In March 2015 a 19-year-old German woman, Ivana Hoffmann, was killed whilst fighting ISIL during the battle of Tell Tamer making her the third western fighter, as well as the first female western fighter, to die while fighting alongside the YPG.[10][11] MLKP's female organisation, Komünist Kadın Örgütü, is also involved in fighting.[12] MLKP was heavily involved in forming the International Freedom Battalion.

Sosyal İsyan[edit]

Social Insurrection was founded in 2013 in Turkey by a group of green anarchists in Tuzluçayır. [13][14][15]

TKP/ML TİKKO[edit]

Liberation Army of the Workers and Peasants of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye İşci ve Köylü Kurtuluş Ordusu, abbreviated as TİKKO) is the armed wing of the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist–Leninist (Turkish: Türkiye Komünist Partisi/Marksist-Leninist, abbreviated as TKP/ML), a Maoist insurgent organisation in Turkey. On 25 March 2016, the TKP/ML TİKKO headquarters in Serêkaniyê were targeted by a motorcycle bomb causing slight injuries to two members and damage to the headquarters, two suspects were detained by Asayiş.[16][17][18]

Birleşik Özgürlük Güçleri[edit]

The United Freedom Forces (Turkish: Birleşik Özgürlük Güçleri, or BÖG), inspired by the International Brigades of the Spanish Civil War, were founded in December 2014 in the town of Kobanê as an organization of foreign leftist fighters of both revolutionary socialist and anarchist convictions. However groups such as the predominant MLKP didn't join,[19] but eventually BÖG and those other groups participated in the formation of the International Freedom Battalion. BÖG also has a female branch named "Women's Freedom Forces" (Kadın Özgürlük Gücü in Turkish).[20] BÖG is considered to be the largest group within the International Freedom Battalion.[13] BOG contains several factions, see Member groups

Reconstrucción Comunista[edit]

Communist Reconstruction (Spanish: Reconstrucción Comunista, abbreviated as RC) is a Marxist-Leninist group from Spain. The group carries a variant of the Flag of the Second Spanish Republic. RC has strong ties to the MLKP and members fight as part of MLKP formations, even fighting in Sinjar. Two members of the group were arrested by police after their return to Spain and were accused of participating in an armed conflict outside of Spain without authorization from the state, as well as putting national interests at risk and joining groups fighting against ISIL that are considered terrorist organizations by international organizations.[21] In January 2016, eight Spanish citizens and one Turkish citizen were arrested in Spain.[22] The Spanish Interior Ministry said in a statement that "The detained, in collaboration with other individuals residing in various European countries, were providing the necessary infrastructure for displaced people to travel abroad and to finally integrate in the ranks of the Peoples' Protection Units (YPG) or one of the armed wings of the organization" and that the majority of the arrested belong to the group 'Communist Reconstruction'.[23]

Türkiye Komünist Emek Partisi/Leninist[edit]

Communist Labour Party of Turkey/Leninist (Turkish: Türkiye Komünist Emek Partisi/Leninist, abbreviated as TKEP/L) is an illegal Marxist-Leninist party in Turkey. The group have set up their own headquarters in Rojava.[24]

Revolutionary Union for Internationalist Solidarity[edit]

Revolutionary Union for Internationalist Solidarity (Greek: Επαναστατικός Σύνδεσμος Διεθνιστικής Αλληλεγγύης, abbreviated as ΕΣΔΑ) is a anarcho-communist group from Greece.[25][26] They have fought in Syria since 2015. Their appearance has alarmed Greek security and intelligence officials alleging that "warriors will be trained in guerilla warfare and then will be able to apply what they have learned in their homeland".[27]

Bob Crow Brigade[edit]

Flag of the Bob Crow Brigade

The Bob Crow Brigade (abbreviated as BCB) is a group of fighters from the United Kingdom and Ireland[28] named after Bob Crow, an English trade union leader and self-described "communist/socialist", who had died of a heart attack in March 2014. The group expressed solidarity with striking rail workers in the United Kingdom.[29][30] Steve Hedley, senior assistant general secretary of the RMT, said: "Bob would have been honoured that young people from Britain would fight the forces of evil in his name. A great admirer of the international brigades that fought in Spain, Crow would of course have drawn the parallels with the new international brigades fighting clerical fascism and defending Yazhidi, Muslim and Christian workers from slavery and persecution."[31]

The group criticized the Labour Party leadership candidate, Owen Smith, for proposing negotiations with ISIL.[32] After Turkey and its allied rebel groups invaded parts of northern Syria and clashed with the Syrian Democratic Forces, Turkish officials stated that they will treat British and other foreign volunteers fighting alongside the YPG as terrorists.[33][34] On 2 September, the Bob Crow Brigade relocated from the Raqqa front to Manbij and stated "When we came to defend the revolution we meant from all enemies, big or small".[35] On 7 September 2016, the Bob Crow Brigade sent a message of solidarity to the women of Ireland fighting to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland on the 33rd anniversary of its approval by referendum, as well as striking Irish bus workers the following day.[36][37]

Henri Krasucki Brigade[edit]

The flag of the Henri Krasucki Brigade[26]

The Henri Krasucki Brigade (French: Brigade Henri Krasucki) is a group of fighters from France. Inspired by their English-speaking counterparts of the Bob Crow Brigade, they named themselves after the French trade-unionist Henri Krasucki.[26] The group expressed solidarity with the CGT union and the Air France workers on trial for the "shirt-ripping case" over an incident on 5 October 2015, which arose from a dispute over the aviation giant's plans to cut 2,900 jobs.[38]

International Revolutionary People's Guerrilla Forces[edit]

The flag of the IRPGF

The International Revolutionary People's Guerrilla Forces (abbreviated as IRPGF) is a militant, armed, self-organized, and horizontal collective of foreign anarchist fighters from around the world. The formation of the IRPGF was announced on 31 March 2017 in a video and text release to several revolutionary websites and media organizations.[39] According to the declaration of the group, their goals are to defend the social revolution in Rojava and spread anarchism.

They are a member organization and part of the management team of the International Freedom Battalion since April 2017, this was announced by the IFB on 17 May on their Facebook page. Their public formation and solidarity campaigns have garnered interest and support from around the world as well as backlash.[40][41] On 24 July, the group established an LGBT unit, the TQILA.[42][43]

The Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army[edit]

The flag of TQILA

The Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army (abbreviated as TQILA)[note 1] is a unit of the IFB announced in 24 July 2017, by members of the IRPGF from Raqqa City. The group launched a statement explaining the purposes of its formation in which the response to persecution of LGBT persons by ISIL is highlighted as one of the main motivations of the group. They are part of the International Revolutionary People's Guerrilla Forces and International Freedom Battalion.

Structure[edit]

Gallery[edit]

International Freedom Battalion fatalities[edit]

Date of death Name Age Nationality Group Location of death
September 2013 Serkan Tosun N/A Turkish MLKP Ras al-Ayn, Al-Hasakah Governorate[44]
23 February 2015 Ashley Johnston 28 Australian Lions of Rojava, YPG near Tell Hamis, Al-Hasakah Governorate[45]
2 March 2015 Konstandinos Erik Scurfield 25 British Lions of Rojava, YPG Tal Khuzela, Al-Hasakah Governorate[46]
7 March 2015 Ivana Hoffman 19 German MLKP near Tell Tamer, Al-Hasakah Governorate[47]
mid-May 2015 N/A N/A Iranian YPG south of Ras al-Ayn, Al-Hasakah Governorate[48]
25 May 2015 Bedrettin Akdeniz N/A Turkish BÖG Til Xenzir, Al-Hasakah Governorate[49]
2 June 2015 Mahir Arpaçay N/A Turkish BÖG near Ras al-Ayn, Al-Hasakah Governorate[50]
3 June 2015 Keith Broomfield 36 American Lions of Rojava, YPG Suluk, Raqqa Governorate[51]
7 March–19 May 2015 N/A N/A Turkish MLKP Ayn al-Arab District, Aleppo Governorate & Al-Hasakah Governorate[44]
7 March–19 May 2015 N/A N/A Turkish MLKP Ayn al-Arab District, Aleppo Governorate & Al-Hasakah Governorate[44]
7 March–19 May 2015 N/A N/A Turkish MLKP Ayn al-Arab District, Aleppo Governorate & Al-Hasakah Governorate[44]
7 March–19 May 2015 N/A N/A Turkish MLKP Ayn al-Arab District, Aleppo Governorate & Al-Hasakah Governorate[44]
7 March–19 May 2015 N/A N/A Turkish MLKP Ayn al-Arab District, Aleppo Governorate & Al-Hasakah Governorate[44]
7 March–19 May 2015 N/A N/A Turkish MLKP Ayn al-Arab District, Aleppo Governorate & Al-Hasakah Governorate[44]
27 June 2015 Reece Harding 23 Australian Lions of Rojava, YPG Al-Kantari, Raqqah Governorate[52][48]
6 July 2015 Kevin Jochim 21 German Lions of Rojava, YPG near Suluk, Raqqa Governorate[53][54]
21 September 2015 Aziz Güler N/A Turkish BÖG near Ras al-Ayn, Al-Hasakah Governorate[55]
4 November 2015 John Robert Gallagher 32 Canadian The 223, YPG near Al-Hawl, Al-Hasakah Governorate[56][57][58]
23 February 2016 Gunter Helsten 47 German YPG Al-Shaddadah, Al-Hasakah Governorate[59]
3 May 2016 Mário Nunes 22 Portuguese YPG Tell Tamer, Al-Hasakah Governorate[60]
25 May 2016 Jamie Bright 45 Australian YPG Al-Shaddadah, Al-Hasakah Governorate[61]
28 June 2016 Eylem Ataş N/A Turkish BÖG Manbij, Aleppo Governorate[62]
14 July 2016 Levi Jonathan Shirley 24 American YPG Manbij, Aleppo Governorate[63][64]
21 July 2016 Martin Gruden N/A Slovenian YPG Manbij, Aleppo Governorate[65][66]
27 July 2016 Dean Carl Evans 22 British YPG Manbij, Aleppo Governorate[65]
3 August 2016 Jordan MacTaggart 22 American YPG Manbij, Aleppo Governorate[67]
10 August 2016 William Savage 27 American YPG Manbij, Aleppo Governorate[68][69]
August 2016 Amir Qobadi N/A Iranian YPG near Kobanî, Aleppo Governorate[70][71]
24 November 2016 Michael Israel 27 American YPG & BÖG west of Manbij, Aleppo Governorate[72][73]
24 November 2016 Anton Leschek N/A German YPG west of Manbij, Aleppo Governorate[72]
21 December 2016 Ryan Lock 20 British YPG west of Raqqa, Raqqa Governorate[74]
21 December 2016 Nazzareno Tassone 24 Canadian YPG west of Raqqa, Raqqa Governorate[75]
7 January 2017 Muzaffer Kandemir N/A Turkish BÖG west of Raqqa, Raqqa Governorate[76]
15 January 2017 Paolo Todd 33 American YPG west of Raqqa, Raqqa Governorate[77]
18 January 2017 Albert Avery Harrington 49 American YPG & SMC west of Raqqa, Raqqa Governorate[78][77]
10 May 2017 Ulaş Bayraktaroğlu N/A Turkish BÖG near Raqqa, Raqqa Governorate[79]
29 May 2017 Ayşe Deniz Karacagil 23 Turkish MLKP near Raqqa, Raqqa Governorate[80][81]
29 May 2017 Hasan Ali N/A Turkish MLKP near Raqqa, Raqqa Governorate[82][83]
5 July 2017 Robert Grodt 28 American YPG Raqqa, Raqqa Governorate[84]
5 July 2017 Luke Rutter 22 British YPG Raqqa, Raqqa Governorate[85]
5 July 2017 Nicholas Warden 29 American YPG Raqqa, Raqqa Governorate[85]
16 July 2017 David Taylor 26 American YPG Raqqa, Raqqa Governorate[86]
14 August 2017 Nubar Ozanyan 61 Turkish TKP/ML Raqqa, Raqqa Governorate[87]
September 2017 Gökhan Taşyakan 38 Turkish BÖG Raqqa, Raqqa Governorate[88]
7 September 2017 Frederic Henri Georges Demonchaux 49 French YPG Raqqa, Raqqa Governorate[89]
16 September 2017 Siyabend Nasir N/A Iraqi YPG Deir ez-Zor Governorate[89]
26 September 2017 Mehmet Aksoy 32 British YPG Raqqa, Raqqa Governorate[90]
24 October 2017 Jac Holmes 24 British YPG Raqqa, Raqqa Governorate[91]
25 November 2017 Oliver Hall 24 British YPG Raqqa, Raqqa Governorate[92]
1–2 February 2018 Sinan Ateş N/A Turkish TKP/ML Afrin district[93]
10 February 2018 Olivier François Jean Le Clainche 40 French YPG Afrin district[94]
10 February 2018 Samuel Prada Leon 24 Spanish YPG Afrin district[94]
12 February 2018 Sjoerd Heeger 24 Dutch YPG Deir ez-Zor Governorate[94]
24 February 2018 Haukur Hilmarsson 32 Icelandic YPG, RUIS, MLKP[95] Afrin district[96][97]
4 March 2013 Şevger Ara Makhno N/A Turkish YPG, AFFA near Rajo, Afrin district[98][99]
13 March 2013 Taylan Demircioğlu N/A Turkish YPG, TKEP/L Afrin district[100]
14 March 2018 Jake Klipsch 32 American YPG Afrin district[101][102]
16 March 2018 Anna Campbell 26 British YPJ/YPG International Afrin district[103][104]
17 March 2018 Alina Sánchez 32 Argentine YPJ Al-Hasakah Governorate[105]
March 2018 N/A N/A Turkish YPG, MLKP Afrin district[99]
March 2018 N/A N/A Turkish YPG, MLKP| Afrin district[99]
March 2018 N/A N/A Turkish YPG, MLKP Afrin district[99]
March 2018 N/A N/A Turkish YPG, DKP Afrin district[99]
March 2018 N/A N/A Turkish YPG, DKP Afrin district[99]
April 2018 Jack Klebs N/A American YPG Ayn Issa[106]
13 May 2018 Kendal Ramon N/A Spanish YPG al-Bughuz, Deir ez-Zor Governorate[107]
6 October 2018 Farid Medjahed 36 French YPG Hajin, Deir ez-Zor Governorate[108]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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    French YPG volunteer killed fighting ISIS in Hajin

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External links[edit]