chapter  10
16 Pages


Northern Syria, Winter 2015
WithJonathan Spyer

At a press conference in the Syrian Kurdish city of Hasakah, on October 15, 2015, a statement announcing the formation of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) was issued. It read, "Due to accelerated conditions in both the political and the military development and the sensitive phases Syria country has gone through, there must be an establishment of a unified national military force all Syrians consisting of Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, and all others living in the geographical locations of Syria. The Syrian democratic force is to launch a self-governing Syria." Thirteen organizations were signatories to the announcement. Among these, the most significant in terms of numerical strength were the Kurdish people’s protection units and women’s protection units; the Sanadid militia of the Arab Al-Shammar tribe; the Syriac Military Council; and the Burkat al-Furan, Thuwar Raqqa and Shams al-Shamal groups. The Kurdish divide had, by late 2015, begun to affect the accessibility of Rojava to outside visitors.