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Al-Qamishli: Syrian regime forms new militias

KURDWATCH, December 10, 2014—At the end of November, the Syrian regime began forming new Arab militias. They are to cooperate with both the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) and the National Defense Forces. The National Defense Forces are also regime-affiliated militias comprised of Arab tribe members. Some of the new militias are to be trained in Lebanon with Hezbollah fighters.
In early November the Syrian president Bashar al‑Assad received Arab tribal leaders and representatives of Christian groups from al‑Hasakah province in Damascus. They demanded to form their own militias in order to stem the PYD’s power in the Kurdish regions. According to KurdWatch information, the president indicated that the supremacy of the PYD was not up for discussion. At the same time, however, he reportedly approved the formation of new military forces as long as these forces also cooperate with the PYD.

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