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New document: Memo on forced recruitment in the Kobanî Canton

KurdWatch, June 30, 2016—Already on June 13, 2014, the legislative council for the Jazirah Canton, appointed by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), passed a law on compulsory military service [download law]. The law provides that every family offers a »volunteer« between the ages of eighteen and thirty to serve for six months in the People’s Defense Units (YPG). Kurds in Jazirah who do not fulfill this obligation will be forcibly recruited. Subsequently, forced military recruitment was also introduced in ʿAfrin and also now in the last of the PYD administered »cantons« ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). The document published here calls on people born between 1986 and 1998 until June 20, 2016 to make themselves known to their responsible recruitment centers. Otherwise there will be legal consequences. It is assumed, as was the case in Jazirah and in ʿAfrin, that the »regular« compulsory service will primarily concern male Kurds. However, among the minors recruited irregularly there are also numerous girls and young women [download interview with Nurman Ibrahim Khalifa]. Comprehensive military forced recruitment is interesting mainly because it is the first time that Kurdish groups does not rely on volunteer fighters. This might point to the fact that the PYD and its militia, the People’s Defense Units, does not hold widespread support among the Syrian-Kurdish population. Along these lines, the numbers [further information] show that more than fifty per cent of the YPG fighters are not from Syria bur rather from Turkey. [Download PDF]


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