YPG fighters have been resisting ISIS assaults on Kobane for nearly a month. Photo: rojhelat.info
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Syria’s Kurdish PYD movement is conscripting hundreds of youths into its People’s Protection Units (YPG), the militia leading the battle to stall an Islamic State takeover of the border town of Kobane.
Rudaw’s reporter in Qamishli, capital of the predominantly Kurdish Jazeera canton in northeastern Syria, said internal security personnel had posted checkpoints across the region. Youths between 18 and 30 were being taken off for training before joining YPG fighters.
Local people said many young people were staying at home to avoid being conscripted by the security units.
The forced conscription, said to be focused on Qamishli, Amoda, Drbesyie, Sarekaniye, Tiler, Hasaka abd Chal-Agha, was criticised by the PYD’s political opponents.
Ibrahim Biro, of the Kurdish Patriotic Party in Syria, accused the PYD of attempting to monopolise the struggle against ISIS rather than cooperating with other parties.
Opposing the forced conscription, he said: “We call on all Kurdish parties to put pressure on the PYD to stop abusing Kurds and create opportunities for all Kurds to protect Syrian Kurdistan.”
Biro said the conscription measure was a cynical move to pre-empt an upcoming meeting of Kurdish parties to discuss the defence of Rojava.
He said the meeting was due to take place between PYD and Kurdish National Council representatives. The KNC has been critical of what it sees as PYD attempts to squeeze out other groupings in the autonomous zones it declared in Syria, despite its insistence that it practices a policy of power-sharing.
“It’s clear that an agreement between Kurds is the best way to attract international political and military support for the Kurds,” he said.