Anti ISIS group *Islamic State's worst enemy
Organized by: Ben Guilliams
While the Islamic State (IS) has swept away the armies that have stood before it, a little-known group is fighting its own war against the extremist group and doing remarkably well- and I am determined to keep it that way! I am an eighteen year old who's decided to help in the fight against ISIS and my goal isn't just to raise money for them, but the awareness that our media isn't giving them in the United States of America. The People's Protection Units (Yekîneyên Parastina Gel: YPG) are the defence force of the Democratic Administration of Rojava: the de facto autonomous Kurdish region that has been formed in northeast Syria since the outbreak of that country's conflict in 2011. Currently engaged in combat against the IS on five front lines across northern Syria, the YPG is perhaps one of the only forces that knows how to take on the extremists at their own game. Relying on speed, stealth, and surprise, it is the archetypal guerrilla army, able to deploy quickly to front lines and concentrate its forces before quickly redirecting the axis of its attack to outflank and ambush its enemy. The key to its success is autonomy. Although operating under an overarching tactical rubric, YPG brigades are inculcated with a high degree of freedom and can adapt to the changing battlefield. The IS has fared well against more static forces using Soviet-based doctrines, which have proven wholly incapable of countering its highly mobile forces. Both the IS and the YPG, however, have emerged from the ashes of the Syrian conflict and have adapted their fighting styles to the territory in which they operate. The YPG relies heavily on snipers, backed by mobile support weaponry (mainly 12.7 mm Russian-issue heavy machine guns) that carve up the battlefield and suppress enemy fire. It also uses roadside bombs to limit enemy movement and prevent outflanking manoeuvres, particularly at night. While Iraqi Kurdish forces (known collectively as the peshmerga) are receiving military assistance from countries including France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, the Syrian Kurds have received little such help. Accusations that they remain close to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces withdrew from Kurdish territory in 2012, and that they are closely linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is fighting for Kurdish independence from Turkey, make them an unpalatable choice. Turkey in particular believes the YPG to be a tool of Damascus, while those who believe the Rojava government's aims run against the goals of the Syrian opposition often accuse the Syrian Kurdish region of being a haven for Iranian influence. The Syrian Kurds are essentially operating in an isolated canton facing the IS to the south and a deeply suspicious and hostile Turkey to the north, while Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) cannot decide whether they are friend or foe. As a result, YPG units are poorly equipped AND NEED YOUR HELP! Not observed by CNN during a recent visit to Syrian Kurdistan that half a dozen men used body armor for helmets. Help me help them! Unfortunately Ive been unable to provide any equipment or financial aid as of yet but that will change- starting with YOU!