US-Backed SDF Conscripts Syrian Civilians to Fight Against Turkey

SDF 'arrest campaign' gathering up young men

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), dominated by the Kurdish YPG, have begun a campaign of mass conscription in several cities, many of them Sunni Arab territories that used to be part of the ISIS caliphate.

The SDF is anticipating a new round of fighting against Turkey, and having failed to resist them in the past are now hoping a bunch of conscripts will help them slow an advance.

Upon announcing that they’ll be conscripting all young men capable of using a gun, the scheme turned to setting up checkpoints around cities and just arresting young men en masse and shipping them to a camp around Hasakeh to fight.

This may get the SDF more fighters, but the loyalty of people dragged off the street and forced to fight is certainly going to be questionable.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.