SDF increases conscription campaign in northern Syria

2 July 2017 – ARA News – According to the UN’s Humanitarian Affairs Office, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are expanding military conscription in Northern Syria–Rojava.The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that a widespread conscription campaign was being conducted by the self-administrations in northern Syria.“The campaign reportedly targets men between 18–30 years, irrespective of place of origin and ethnicity and allegedly includes IDPs, even if originating from other governorates,” the humanitarian office explained. “Hundreds of young people have been reportedly recruited over the past few days.”

The Cizire, Kobani and Efrin self-administrations have enacted laws which mandate the conscription of 18-30 year-olds. The conscripts are inducted into the Self-Defence Forces or HPX, which serves as a reserve army. In February, the ANHA news agency reported that more than 500 HPX soldiers were serving in Operation Euphrates Wrath, which aims to liberate Raqqa city. In an interview with ARA News, Nicholas Heras, the Bacevich Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), said that the SDF’s current operations “will require more manpower, particularly for providing security in the northern Syria federal regions and in holding newly conquered areas from ISIS.”

SDF officers have said that it’s possible that they will push into Deir ez-Zor Governorate after the battle for Raqqa is won, straining their resources still further.“The SDF has growing responsibilities and the Coalition is asking it to do more and more,” Heras reasoned. “As a consequence, the SDF can only keep up with the Coalition demands by increasing mobilization from the population in the northern Syria federal regions.”