People's Protection Units
|People's Protection Units|
|Yekîneyên Parastina Gel (YPG)|
|Allegiance||Rojava, Syria (Democratic Union Party)|
|Type||Light infantry militia|
|Motto||YPG dimeşe, erd û ezman diheje (YPG is marching, and the earth and sky [or heavens] tremble)|
|General Commander||Sipan Hemo|
|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 (or People's Defense Units) (Kurdish: Yekîneyên Parastina Gel, pronounced [jɑkinæjen pɑrɑstinɑ gæl], abbreviated as YPG) are the main armed service of the Kurdish Supreme Committee, the provisional government of Kurdish-inhabited areas of Syria. The YPG is primarily Kurdish, but also recruits Arabs and westerners, and there are Assyrian/Syriac Christian units integrated into its command structure. Formed to protect Kurdish areas, it has become a major opponent of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. It has co-operated with Syrian opposition fighters against ISIS, but generally avoids engaging forces of the Syrian government, which has several non-Kurdish enclaves in Kurdish territory. The nature of links between the YPG and the controversial Turkish-Kurdish PKK is disputed.
The YPG were originally formed in 2004 by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Rojava, the Kurdish region of Syria. and was transferred to the service of the Kurdish Supreme Committee (including the PYD) in 2012.
The group initially took a defensive posture in the Syrian Civil War.Later it began making advances into territories controlled by Islamic State (ISIS) and inhabited mostly by Arabs, such as the border town of Tell Abyad in June 2015.
The YPG considers itself a democratic people's army and conducts internal elections as a method of appointing officers. Though predominantly Kurdish, it has attracted increasing numbers of Arabs, including fighters defecting from the mainstream opposition as well as locals from mixed or Arab villages in YPG-controlled territory who see the group as the best guarantor of regional security. A number of non-Kurdish Christians also fight in its ranks, and the militia has close ties to the Assyrian/Syriac Sutoro and Syriac Military Council.
In late July 2012, the YPG pushed out government security forces from the city of Kobanî and took over Amuda and Afrin. By December 2012 it had expanded to eight brigades, which were formed in Al-Qamishli, Kobanî and Ras al-Ayn and the districts of Afrin, Al-Malikiyah and Al-Bab.
In 2014, the YPG collaborated with the Free Syrian Army in order to fight against Islamic State in Ar-Raqqah province. The group has also formed an operations room with multiple FSA factions called Euphrates Volcano. In February 2015, the YPG signed a judicial agreement with the Levant Front in Aleppo.
The Women's Protection Units (Women's Defense Units) are the YPG's female units. The YPJ was set up in 2012. Kurdish media have said that YPJ troops became vital in the battle against Islamic State in Kobanî.
Liberation of Til Koçer
The clashes lasted about three days. Til Koçer border gate was taken in a major offensive launched on the night of 24 October.
PYD leader Saleh Muslim told Stêrk TV that the developments in Til Koçer would lead to changes in the political and economic situation in West Kurdistan, and that this success created an alternative against efforts to hold the territory under embargo.
On 21 October 2014, YPG launched the "Lions Of Rojava" Facebook page as a recruitment center for foreign volunteers. At least ten U.S. volunteers have fought alongside the YPG. Jordan Matson served as an infantryman in the U.S. Army. Jeremy Woodard served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Brian Wilson, another U.S. Army veteran, is located in Ras al-Ayn.
One Italian, one Greek citizen and dozens of non-Kurdish Turks (both from Turkey and the European diaspora) have also joined the ranks of YPG. Many of these Turkish fighters are members of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP), which has reportedly been sending volunteers to fight in the YPG since 2012, at least four of whom have been killed in battle as of February 2015—one during the Battle of Ras al-Ayn, and three during the Siege of Kobanî. The MLKP has also declared its intention to form a leftist international brigade within the YPG, modelled after the famous International Brigades who fought on the side of the Second Spanish Republic in the Spanish Civil War. The party released a video in late January 2015 purporting to show several Spanish- and German-speaking communist volunteers from Europe among its ranks in Jazira Canton, such group of volunteers was officially re-organized into the International Freedom Battalion from 10 June. 
Several Australians, including former Trade Unionist and politician Matthew Gardiner, have been involved with the YPG despite threats by the Australian Government to prosecute all those involved in the Syrian Civil War. On 26 February 2015, the death of the first foreign volunteer to be killed in action with the YPG was announced. Ashley Johnston, a 28-year-old man from Canberra, Australia, travelled to Syrian Kurdistan in October 2014 and volunteered as a humanitarian aid worker. He later decided to serve as a front line fighter with the YPG.
- Jabhat al-Akrad
- List of armed groups in the Syrian Civil War
- Siege of Kobanî
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Kurdish Information Center
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