Kurds launch conscription campaign to protect Kobane from ISIS attacks

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Conscription centre of Kobane. Photo: ARA News

ARA News 

KOBANE – In an unprecedented step on Monday 160 civilians were conscripted in Syria’s Kurdish city of Kobane for military service after ratifying the law of self defence duty in June beginning this month.

The new recruits will be trained at the martyr Kendal Efrin camp for 45 days by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and then serve for 9 months.

“The first group they take is just maybe 100 people,” said Idris Nasan, a former official in the Kobane administration. “They will serve 9 months and after that they are free to join the YPG or go home,” he told ARA News.

“They will not be used to fight ISIS, but will be used inside the city of Kobane and the nearby villages to replace some fighters at checkpoints. The YPG need more fighters for the places they liberate,” Nasan added.

However, some civilians in Kobane seem very critical of the conscription law introduced by the Self-Administration, suggesting the city has suffered too much from ISIS attacks, and a massacre carried out by ISIS in June 2015 that killed more than 233 civilians.

But others say that this massacre exactly shows the necessity of the service.

“You cannot send people to fight by force, people should have the right to choose,” Mohammed, a 25-year-old citizen of Kobane, told ARA News. “They should do it like in Iraq like the Peshmerga forces, if they want they can fight, if they don’t want they don’t fight,” he said.

Some youth have tried to escape to Turkey to avoid the service.

However, Ibrahim Kurdo, the head of foreign relations in Kobane administration said that the self defence duty “is not conscription”.

“We have been under threat for five years, and people realize that this self defence service was created for them to be able to defend themselves,” Kurdo told ARA News. “These new fighters will not fight in the frontlines, they are behind the frontlines,” he said.

“It’s a natural right to defend yourselves, if there is no protection, people will be eliminated and finished,” he added.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg 

Source: ARA News 

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