Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment


Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using





Hundreds from Germany travel to Syria to fight with Kurds against ISIS

By Rudaw 11/4/2017
Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces gather on the outskirts of the northern Syrian town of Manbij. Photo: Delil Souleiman | AFP Photo
Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces gather on the outskirts of the northern Syrian town of Manbij. Photo: Delil Souleiman | AFP Photo

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Germany’s interior ministry has announced more than 200 people have travelled from its borders to fight with primarily Kurdish militias in Syria against ISIS.

"When young people from Germany in full knowledge of the danger take it upon themselves to participate in the fight against the 'Islamic State' [ISIS] in Syria, then I have the greatest respect for that decision," said Ulla Jelpke, a spokesperson of the German left-wing ‘Die Linke’ party and parliamentarian, in a statement on Monday.

The interior ministry released its findings after Jelpke’s party asked for official statistics — the data does not include those from Germany who travel to the Kurdistan Region who fight alongside Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

Of the 204 fighters noted in the report, just 69 are German nationals.

“Many of those who fight alongside Kurdish militias are nationals of Turkey,” the German daily newspaper Die Welt wrote.

Berlin warns against travel to Iraq and Syria, but rarely prosecutes those fighting against ISIS in Syria and Iraq alongside Kurdish forces.

According to the report, 102 Kurdish militia allied fighters have returned to Germany, including 43 German nationals.

Germany is a member of the international coalition to defeat ISIS which has been backing the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a force primarily comprised of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Turkey considers the YPG to be linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a listed terrorist organization by the European Union and Turkey, which has been engaged in guerilla war against the Turkish government on and off since the 1980s.

Turkey has proposed working with the US to retake Raqqa and relying on the Free Syrian Army for the offensive.

The coalition has stated that YPG hasn’t posed a threat to Turkey’s security in areas like Manbij.

"Our forces have been present there for some time,” said the spokesperson for the coalition, US Col. John Dorrian in mid-March to Rudaw, explaining the US presence on the ground around Manbij. 

“They've had a visible presence more recently, and the purpose of their presence right now is to make sure there is no security incident and to make sure there is no persistent [the Kurdish force] YPG presence in the city, or anything that would threaten Turkey because we are also committed to Turkey's security. And what we've found so far is that there is exactly zero threat to Turkey's security in Manbij.”

Additionally, Turkey has been critical of what it sees as Germany’s lenient prosecution of PKK members in the country.


Dutchman | 11/4/2017
European governments seem not to know what to do with people joining Kurdish forces against IS. The position of those people is unclear. Some who returned were even arrrested. The EU should publicly allow people to join the peshmerga and the SDF.
endaman | 13/4/2017
Every human being should stand by forces who are fighting isis (f the son of the devil mammon)
Patrick Fermor | 13/4/2017
The SDF International Brigades will unlikely get any official support from governments. Some sort of conflict with a NATO ally (Turkey) will likely follow the defeat of IS, at which point such support would be an embarrassment.

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

w | 12/9/2017 1:10:56 AM
Since the days of the patriarch Ishmael, instability has been the hallmark of the Arab middle east. It does not need "fuel" to become unstable, it is...
Love Peshmerga, AK USA | 12/9/2017 2:06:34 PM
At the end of the day. united state will realize that kurds are the only true friends in the middle east. the rest are fake and they only like united...
Iraqi Shiite militia forming brigade to defend Jerusalem
| 8/12/2017 | (5)
Hejar | 12/6/2017 6:28:15 AM
The US being involved in the push to dialogue between the two sides is a good thing, I believe. These gestures by the US government should be...
nabaz | 12/9/2017 12:55:58 PM
You are no longer the top super power, I am afraid that is in the past. You impose your illusion supremacy on the defenceless Kurdish people just to...
US Consul in Erbil: Not our policy to abandon the Kurds
| 3/12/2017 | (8)
Dutchman | 12/9/2017 10:10:59 AM
Now that Erdogan became a dictator, the civilized world doesn't respect him anymore. So he found new friends in Tehran and Moscow. But his new...
Iran, Turkey to discuss 'terrorism' and smuggling
| 9/12/2017 | (1)
Linda | 12/9/2017 3:02:57 AM
Dutchman | 12/9/2017 10:00:55 AM
Thank you for the offer, Russia, but the best you and you Iranian and Turkish allies can do is to go home. Russia has done enough evil by supporting...
Iraq launches ISIS desert offensive, Russia offers help
| 8/12/2017 | (2)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

Yezidis in US plead for justice and peace 54 minutes ago |

Yezidis in US plead for justice and peace

“It's important for the world to recognize more
German parliament extends Peshmerga training 2 hours ago |

German parliament extends Peshmerga training

The training program will continue until April more
0.531 seconds