PKK-linked YPG to forcibly recruit youth in northern Syria

Published 20.06.2016 23:40

The Syrian affiliate of the PKK terrorist organization, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), has established recruitment centers for their armed wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG), attempting to increase recruitment in the fight against DAESH, Turkish media reported.

Citing a report from Turkish intelligence units of a testimony from a youth who fled to Turkey from PYD-ruled areas, Hürriyet daily claimed that the PYD has taken measures against youths fleeing the fighting. The report said that those living in the PYD-controlled areas born between 1986 and 1998 will be recruited by force, rather than being given the option to join the group voluntarily.

The PYD has suffered heavy daily losses during the U.S.-backed Manbij operation, which according to the U.S., is carried out by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), by predominantly Arab forces. The coffins of YPG militants nonetheless continue to arrive in Kurdish towns, and funerals for the slain militants include PKK flags and banners of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.

With these losses, the PYD/YPG has rushed to find new solutions to recruit forces, in order to maintain the fighting and prevent possible threats. Sources from the Turkish-Syrian border said that the YPG was alarmed by the statement by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that Turkey is ready to "take matters into its own hands if needed," and the group is trying to recruit people between the ages 18 and 60 in the northern Syrian town of Kobani, which the PYD currently controls.

Security measures have been tightened in terms of distribution of roles in the event of a cross-border operation. According to regulations published on Wednesday in the government's Official Gazette on the approval of the Cabinet and Erdoğan, the Foreign Ministry and National Defense Ministry will begin mobilizing the military and taking temporary control of weaponry currently in the hands of civilians, while the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has been assigned to prepare Turkish Special Forces for a possible cross-border operation. Some have said the Cabinet's approval of the regulation regarding Enforcement of Principles Concerning Very High Readiness Joint Task Force Operations is critical for possible future developments.

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