Early this month, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is mostly composed of and led by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), have arrested dozens of young men from areas they newly control in the Raqqa countryside. Detainees are then taken to training camps where they are drilled on military tactics and weapon’s operations.
According to the SDF, young men ages 18 to 32 are obligated to join what is called the “Self Defense Forces” where they are told they will be working to achieve a “Democratic Nation” in Syria.
These SDF raid and arrest campaigns have been taking place in the villages of Raqqa’s northern, eastern, and western countrysides. These areas include, but are not limited to: Ayn Arous, Baq Qarna, Al-Trwazieh, Asal, Agyoog, Ziban, Hamam Turkman, Dogania, Dij, Hawijah, Atshana, and Shyokh.
The attacking militias have been demanding that young men in the newly controlled villages join the SDF before their families can be allowed to return to their homes. For this reason, most young people have decided to join these militias.
SDF’s raid on Bagh village resulted in the killing of Khalil Ali, the injury of his cousin Mohammad Aboud, and the arrest of multiple other youths in the village. Similar cases have been reported from other SDF controlled villages of Raqqa.