DAMASCUS, SYRIA (12:00 A.M.) – After encroaching upon non-Kurdish populated areas of both Raqqa and Deir Ezzor, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have begun recruiting more and more Arab fighters to win over the hearts and minds of local civilians whom often fear being disenfranchised by the Kurdish-led fighting force.
On October 28, a total of 70 commanders graduated from the military academy in Ain Issa, an SDF stronghold in northern Raqqa. Footage of the graduation can be found below:
The SDF’s media department stressed that the majority of newly appointed commanders were of Arab origin, likely due to pressure from the US-led coalition to secularize the militia. Approximately 80% of SDF fighters are estimated to be Kurds, most of whom fight for the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Although denied by the SDF leadership, some reports suggest that the Kurdish-led militia has forced thousands of civilians into conscription to beef up its manpower.