Posts Tagged With: Jazira

Kurdish YPG recruiting Arab loyalists to fight jihadists in Syria

The Democratic Union Party (PYD) has reportedly established Arab brigades made up of regime loyalists…

In the original draft of the below mentioned article there was also this passage which is still worth of interest: 

“Politically, the space given to Arabs is criticized by the PYD’s Kurdish rivals as a mere facade concocted by the regime. “The representation of Arabs in the new government remains a ‘decor’ featured by figures like [the head of the agricultural committee] Saleh al-Zuba’i, who was the secretary of the Hasakah’s branch of the Movement of Arab Socialists, a member of the regime-backed National Progressive Front,” member of the political bureau of the Barzani-backed Kurdistan Democratic Party of Syria (PDKS), Muhammad Isma’il, told Al-Monitor in a Skype interview from Qamishli”

Another prominent pro-regime figure which has been coopted by the PYD is Shaykh Humaydi Daham al-Jarba, who is now the president of the al-Jazirah canton in the government of Rojava (he is known for leading the Jaysh al-Karama, a pro-government Arab militia, and recognizing Bashar al-Asad as the only legitimate Syrian president in spite of the establishment of Rojava). 

(in the photo: Hawas Jammo and Osama Jasim al-Karot, two well-known pro-regime Arabs who joined the YPG in Ras al-‘Ayn)

Syrian Kurds recruit regime loyalists to fight jihadists

two Arab shabbiha join YPG source kurdistanabinxete

According to local Arab and Kurdish sources, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) has been enlisting Arab loyalists in its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), in a bid to boost its credibility among Arabs and join efforts with the Syrian regime on the battleground against the opposition. This military strategy was reportedly accompanied by some intense consultations held in Qamishli between the regime and its Arab allies immediately before the formation of the PYD-led autonomous government on Jan. 21.

On Nov. 2, Rihab News reported that the Arab Brigade of the Free Patriots joined the YPG in Ras al-Ain, northwest of Hassakeh. The brigade’s commander Hawas Jammo and another of its fighters, Osama Jasim al-Karot, are known to be regime collaborators who attacked anti-regime demonstrators in 2012, according to the Rihab News report and local Kurdish activists and journalists who spoke with Al-Monitor.

Errata corrige (29/04/2018): The text is now available here as Al-Monitor’s archives are undergoing a reconstruction. I’ve asked today to amend the following passage.

“A pro-YPG Kurdish activist from Ras al-Ain, who wished to remain anonymous, told Al-Monitor via phone that it is possible that “there was not enough popular support for the regime to set up an NDA branch in Ras al-Ain, [so] it chose a limited option under the banner of the YPG.”

I don’t think it’s completely accurate to refer to this source as “pro-YPG”. He was in favor of the YPG presence in Ras al-Ayn, against the presence of most Arab Islamist opposition factions there, but he was also actively involved with the Azadi party (part of the anti-PYD bloc, which was closer to Barzani). Probably more accurate to describe him as a Kurdish activist only.

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Rojava: What about the Arabs?

An article I wrote for Al-Monitor in October 2013. Kurdish autonomy in north-east Syria will struggle if Syria’s Kurdish forces do not reach an understanding with local Arab residents. (Forget about the nonsense title given to this piece on Al-Monitor: the content has nothing to do with the PYD’s rise…no comment 🙂

a Syrian beduin woman source ICRC

RAS AL-AIN, Syria — The Mesopotamian Al-Jazira plain is populated by a majority of Arabs, but the northern districts of the province of Hasakah, including the two main cities Qamishli and Hasakah, will soon see the first steps of a Kurdish-led administrative and political decentralization. Arabs here hold different views on Kurdish autonomy, ranging from support to skepticism and opposition. Regardless of the political shape of these regions, it is urgently necessary to reconcile both communities and solve the land disputes caused by the presence of Arab settlers, in order to ward off a Kirkuk-like ethnic strife.

“The self-management plan won’t discriminate among the different communities,” said Ahmad al-Ahmad, an Arab staff member in the Ministry of Education from al-Jabriyya, a village next to Amuda. “Therefore, I support it. We want to see locals, whether Arabs or Kurds, managing and developing these regions,” he told Al-Monitor. Ahmad is originally from Tabqa in Raqqa province and he settled in al-Jabriyya 37 years ago. He belongs to the so-called maghmurin, “flooded,” Arab tribes resettled by the government along the northern border of the province of Hasakah in the 1970s, in order to compensate them for the loss of their lands flooded by the construction of the Tabqa Dam on the Euphrates between 1968 and 1973. It was part of the Arabization plan drafted by Hasakah’s police chief, Mohammad Talab Hilal, in 1963 to change the demographic balance at the expense of Kurds.

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