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YPG imposes conscription, disbands popular strike in Syria territories

Image of a YPG fighter in Hasaka, Syria on 21 September 2014 [Kurdishstruggle/Flickr]
YPG fighter in Hasaka, Syria on 21 September 2014 [Kurdishstruggle/Flickr]

Kurdish militia units in the northwest of Syria forcibly disbanded a popular strike in the city of Manbij, after residents protested the implementation of forced conscription, according to Anadolu Agency.

The People's Protection Units (YPG) has imposed new laws regarding conscription in many of the territories since last year, including Tabqa city, Mansoura and Al-Garniya, held as part of their participation in the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Raqqa is the latest city where the law was imposed over the weekend, forcing men between the ages of 18 and 30 to join YPG militias for at least nine months, dubbing the policy "compulsory conscription in the duty of self-defence".

Residents in the city of Manbij staged a strike yesterday to protest the forced recruitment of dozens of youngsters by the terror group since early May, with many streets observing a total shutdown of activity.

However, according to sources of Syria Call news network, YPG fighters, alongside US soldiers, attempted to break the strike by forcing residents to open their shops and businesses. The sources added that some tribal leaders loyal to the militias went to the main market and forced the owners to resume business as usual, threatening them with imprisonment if they refused.

Read: 23 civilians killed in Syria in suspected US coalition air strikes

The YPG, an offshoot of the designated terror organisation the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), has secured swathes of land in the north of Syria alongside the SDF, causing heightened tensions with neighbouring Turkey.

Since January, Turkey has undertaken an air and ground offensive in Syria as part of "Operation Olive Branch" against the YPG in Afrin. The move prompted the Kurdish militia to call on the Syrian regime of President Bashar Al-Assad to aid them in the fight against Turkish soldiers.

Cooperation between the YPG and the Syrian regime is ongoing, with a member of the Central Committee of the Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria revealing yesterday that the YPG had handed over more than 90 Kurdish detainees to the security branch of the Assad government, after withdrawing from the city of Afrin in the north-west of Aleppo.

The YPG has also received increased backing from Europe; French forces have established six artillery batteries in the north of the country and along the Syria-Iraq border since their arrival last month.

Read: Russia to Syria: Foreign forces will be leaving soon

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