US-backed forces deny having LGBT military unit in Syria

The US-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance forces fighting the Islamic State (IS) in Syria on Tuesday denied the reports of the existence of an LGBT military unit.
author_image Hisham Arafat

RAQQA, Syria (Kurdistan 24) – The US-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance forces fighting the Islamic State (IS) in Syria on Tuesday denied reports of the existence of an LGBT military unit within their forces.

Speaking to reporters including Kurdistan 24’s Mustefa Bali, the director of media center of the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said, “We, the Syrian Democratic Forces, while emphasizing our deep respect for human rights, including the rights of homosexuals, deny the formation of such a battalion within the framework of our forces.”

However, a group of international volunteers fighting with Kurdish forces against IS in northern Syria earlier this week declared the first LGBT military unit created to battle the extremists.

The unit was named the Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army, or TQILA.

The International Revolutionary People's Guerrilla Forces (IRPGF), an anarchist movement, announced in a Tweet the unit’s creation on Monday.

IRPGF is a unit in the International Freedom Battalion, a collection of foreign fighters who travelled to northern Syria to battle IS alongside the Kurdish YPG forces.

IRPGF said in a statement published on Twitter, “[The members of the LGBT military unit] seek to smash the gender binary and advance the women’s revolution as well as the broader gender and sexual revolution.”

“TQILA’s members have watched in horror as fascists and extremist forces around the world have attacked the Queer community and murdered countless of our community members citing that they are ‘ill’, ‘sick’, and ‘unnatural,’” the statement reads.

The TAQILA’s statement further pointed out that the images of gay men being thrown off roofs and stoned to death by IS was something they could not idly watch.

It’s noteworthy that IS has brutally persecuted LGBT people for several years and considers being gay to be a crime punishable by death.

 

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany