ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish force from Syrian Kurdistan, intends to increase its fighters to over 100,000, a spokesperson told Reuters on Monday.
The US-backed Kurdish force has played an effective role in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.
According to YPG Spokesperson Redur Xelil, the unit plans to turn itself into a more organized force similar to an army.
At the end of 2016, the force had 60,000 fighters, including its female armed wing known as the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ).
At the beginning of 2017, YPG added 10 new battalions which each consisted of about 300 fighters, Xelil said.
“We aspire to exceed 100,000 fighters in the second half of 2017,” he added.
The Kurdish force has served to protect Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) and other parts of northern Syria against IS by forming the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance with other local Arab powers.
The 10 new units and other battalions will receive military training and different forms of combat, tactics, and weaponry, according to the spokesperson.
YPG is one of the Syrian forces who have participated in the military operation to liberate Raqqa from the extremist group.
The force and its political wing, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), are opposed by neighboring country Turkey.
Turkey views the two Kurdish groups as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) labeled as a terrorist organization by Ankara, the European Union, and the United States.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany