New Syrian Rebel Faction Forms, US Promises Arms

Kurdish YPG to Be Largest Faction in New Force

Syria’s largest Kurdish militia, the Peoples Protection Units (YPG), have announced they are joining a new rebel faction, initially dubbed the “Syrian Arab Coalition,” but subsequently renamed to the Democratic Forces now that they are dominated by a Kurdish faction.

The faction includes a handful of smaller Arab tribal militias, along with an Assyrian Christian faction. The group is said to be made up of about 3,200 fighters overall, though this is likely primarily the YPG itself, who controls significant territory in the Hasakeh Province.

Ironically, the YPG’s main city, Hasakeh, is co-defended by it and the Syrian government, so its ties to the rebellion in general are unclear. The promise of a massive influx of US weapons into this new faction, however, likely was sufficient to get them on board.

US military officials were quoted saying they were going to provide “fresh weapons” to the new faction, and get them to attack Raqqa, the capital of the ISIS caliphate. The rebels have expressed confidence that they could capture the city in “less than two months” if given enough weaponry, though most US efforts to arm rebels have ended up with ISIS coming out even stronger at the end, and with a bunch of new US-made weapons.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.