Syrian Democratic Forces

Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF] are an alliance of Kurdish, Syrian Arab and Christian Assyrian and Turkmen militias established during the Syrian War to fight against the Islamic State.

Founded in 10th October 2015, its objective is to expel the Islamic State from the Raqqa Governorate and other areas in Syria. The SDF consider themselves a “unified national military force to all Syrians consisting of Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians and all others living in the geographical locations of Syria.” Furthermore, they are aiming to build a self-governing, inclusive and democratic Syria.

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SDF logo

The joint press conference was read by Sheikh Bender Hamedi El-Deham, who is a commander from Al-Jaysh al-Sanadid, He said “All the forces joining the Democratic Syria Forces herald the birth of the future’s Syria, adding; “This democratic step will enable the democratic unity of all Syrian peoples on the basis of democratic principles.”

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Joint Press Conference / hawarnews.com

USA announced the failure of a rebel training program, which was halted after fighters handed their equipment over to al-Qaida affiliate Nusra Front. The new Syrian Democratic Forces will absorb some of those fighters. US officials are convinced that the Syrian Kurds are the most organized force that has the military ability to fight against the Islamic State, also they are able to form an alliance with the rest of the Syrian ethnic groups. United States will also push for an international recognition for its new formed anti-ISIS alliance.

On 12 October 2015, the Pentagon confirmed U.S. C-17 transport aircraft having dropped 100 pallets with 45 tons of arms and ammunition over Northern Syria to benefit “Arab militant groups.” YPG spokesman Polat Can confirmed the airdrop over Rojava [Northern Syria], identifying the load as being “assault rifles, mortars and ammunition, but no TOW anti-tank missiles nor anti-aircraft weapons.

The militant groups in this alliance has good relations with all members of this alliance even before its creation. Like for example the People’s Protection Units [YPG] have a close relations with Syriac Military Council [MFS] and Jaysh al-Sanaded, they all co-operate militarily and politically.

YPG also co-operated with FSA brigades against the Islamic State like Jaysh al-Thuwar which is a small coalition of FSA brigades from Raqqa, Hassakah and Aleppo. Burkan al-Furat which is a coalition of FSA brigades from Eastern Aleppo and Raqqa and it was formed during the Siege of Kobani in September 2014.

On Monday 11th October 2015, YPG spokesman Polat Can announced on his Twitter account that the Syrian Arab Coalition (which includes the Jaysh al-Thuwwar, the Burkan al-Firat Operations Center, the Al-Sanadid Forces and the Brigade Groups of Al-Jazeera), along with the Assyrian Military Council, the YPG and the YPJ (the YPG’s female wing), would all join forces under the name of the “Syrian Democratic Forces”. People’s Protection Units [YPG] will lead this Coalition on the ground towards Islamic State stronghold in Raqqa. They will be supported by US led Coalition from the air.

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SDF announcement statement  / Twitter

The Alliance is consisted of:

Syrian Arab Coalition:

Jaysh al-Thuwar [Revolutionary Army]

Euphrates Volcano Operation Centre

Division 30

Jaysh al-Sanaded

Brigade Groups of Al-Jazira

Strength: 3,800 – 5,500 fighters

People’s Protection Units [YPG]

Strength: 9,000 fighters

Women’s Protection Units [YPJ]

Strength: 3,500 fighters

Syriac Military Council

Strength: 1,900 fighters

Manpower figures are mentioned by FSA’s Shams al-Shamal Facebook page. Self-reported figures cannot be verified and should be treated with scepticism.

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