Benedetta Argentieri

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When Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Turkey Saturday, he strongly condemned a group that Turkey considers to be its most clear and present terror threat: the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

While Turkey, the United States and the European Union consider the armed Kurds of the PKK terrorists, the armed Kurds in Syria are something else.

The Syrian Kurds, also known as the YPG or People’s Protection Units, are now operating as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The umbrella group also includes some Arab, Turkmen and Armenian militias, as well as Free Syrian Army (FSA) units that fought in Kobani. Kobani is a Kurdish Syrian town on Turkey’s border that was nearly overrun by Islamic State more than a year ago.…  Seguir leyendo »

Female fighters of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) stand at attention at a military camp in Ras a-Ain January 30, 2015. Picture taken January 30, 2015. REUTERS/Rodi Said

For nearly a year now, the Kurdish People’s Defense Units, or YPG, has been fighting against Islamic State. In the process, they have gained control of large portions of the three Kurdish-majority cantons in northern Syria, including the frontline city of Kobani. The military successes of the militia has been impressive to date, but it is by no means the only front on which it is challenging Islamic State.

Apart from simply battling for survival, the Kurdish rebels are also waging an important ideological battle in the region. They have repeatedly appealed to progressive democratic ideals as a way to counter the jihadists in their struggle for the hearts and minds of the region’s inhabitants.…  Seguir leyendo »