Spanish leftists join fight against ISIL (Al-Jazeera)

Lions of Rojava

“At any rate, the Syria-is-Spain debate took a new turn last week when a video surfaced showing two Spaniards who had travelled to Syria to join the “revolutionary” Kurdish struggle against ISIL.

The young men, appear in front of a Soviet flag and the tri-colour flag of the Second Spanish Republic, and address the camera dressed in military fatigues, with their faces covered. One of the fighters, identified by his nom de guerre Paco Arcadio, declares: “We are not fighting against Muslims, but against the fascism that Islamic State [ISIL] represents, in the same way that people fought in Spain in 1936 or in Stalingrad in 1943.”

Spanish intelligence stumbled upon the seven-minute video on a pro-Kurdish YouTube channel, and are now trying to identify the fighters and find out how manySpaniards have gone to fight ISIL. The Spanish volunteers are members of a far-left group called Reconstrucion Comunista (Communist Reconstruction).”

Read the full article here

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Lions of Rojava UPDATE

While the Lions of Rojava’s ranks have swollen to around 100 Westerners, they have taken casualties. These include:

1. Konstandinos Erik Scurfield (Heval Kemal, U.K., died west of Qamishli, March 2015).

Scurfield

2.  Ashley Johnston (Heval Bagok Serhed, Australian, 2015)

For information consult:

The Lions of Rojava

BBC’s Syria death reported of ex-British marine fighting alongside Kurds

IBT’s At Least 100 Westerners Join The Kurdish Fight Against Islamic State

Seizing the Post-ISIL Opportunity for Democracy and Inclusion (State)

Remarks

Tom Malinowski
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Middle East Research Institute
Erbil, Iraq
February 11, 2015
“Now, it’s often said that war brings out both the worst in people, but also the best in people. And here is an example of the very best, the overwhelming, amazing generosity of the Kurdish people to all of the people who have had to flee from Daeesh in the last few months. You have already hosted over 200,000 refugees from Syria, from that nightmare. And now you have taken in so many, many more. Over half of all the IDPs in Iraq are here, maybe a quarter of the population of Kurdistan. And I know what this means for everyday life, people opening their homes to strangers who need help, schools having to open up a second and a third shift to accommodate the children, so that they will have something to do, something to develop their minds, while they wait to be able to go home.”
See the full release here.

HOW MANY FIGHTERS DOES THE ISLAMIC STATE REALLY HAVE? (War on the Rocks)

IBT’s photo of an Islamic Youth Council convoy with ISIS flags

“Estimates of the number of fighters in the ranks of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are extraordinarily wide-ranging. On the low end of things, CNN’s Barbara Starr recently reported that “U.S. intelligence estimates that ISIL has a total force of somewhere between 9,000 to 18,000 fighters.” In late 2014, the CIA’s estimate of ISIL’s numbers was slightly higher, as its analysts assessed that the group had between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters between its Iraq and Syria holdings.

Other estimates are far higher. Rami Abdel Rahman, the director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, has said that ISIL has more than50,000 fighters in Syria alone. The chief of the Russian General Staff recently said that Russia estimates ISIL to have “70,000 gunmen of various nationalities.” In late August of 2014, Baghdad-based security expert Hisham al-Hashimi claimed that ISIL’s total membership could be close to 100,000. By November, Fuad Hussein, the chief of staff to Kurdish president Massoud Barzani, told Patrick Cockburn of The Independent that the CIA’s estimates were far too low, and that ISIL had at least 200,000 fighters.”

See the full article at: http://warontherocks.com/2015/02/how-many-fighters-does-the-islamic-state-really-have/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=%2AMideast%20Brief&utm_campaign=2014_The%20Middle%20East%20Daily_2.9.15

Jordan Matson’s Message to American People (Kurdish VOA)

  • Maston claimed that Syrian forces were committing “genocide” against the Kurds.
  • He noted the YPG are the only forces protecting Kurdish civilians from ISIS.
  • He stressed the resilience and hospitality of the Kurds.
  • He desired American Special Forces to train and to arm (with NVGs, AT weapons, and tech support) YPG forces.

See the original link at: http://www.dengeamerika.com/media/video/ypg_american/2496563.html

OSINT – PKK

 

Also Known As: Kurdistan Workers’ Party; Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress; the Freedom and Democracy Congress of Kurdistan; KADEK; Partiya Karkeran Kurdistan; the People’s Defense Force; Halu Mesru Savunma Kuvveti; Kurdistan People’s Congress; People’s Congress of Kurdistan; KONGRA-GEL

Description:  Abdullah Ocalan founded the PKK as a Marxist organization in 1978. The United States designated the group, a Kurdish separatist paramilitary force, as a FTO on October 8, 1997.

Targets: Key targets of PKK include Turkish military members, as well as IS targets of opportunity in Syrian and Iraqi Kurdistan.

Activities: Major activities include a rural insurgency in Eastern Turkey, sporadic urban terrorism in Turkey (with over 45,000 casualties), and disputed peace talks with the Turkish Government moderated by Ocalan.

Diplomacy: The PKK has a Northern Syrian (Rojava) affiliate, the YPG. Furthermore, the PKK has stood with YPG, ISF, and peshmerga forces against IS.

Strength:  Estimated to be 4,000 – 5,000, with about 3,000 in Iraqi Kurdistan

AO: Kurdistan (Eastern Turkey, Northern Iraq, and Northern Syria)

Funding and External Aid:  The PKK is funded through TNOC and remittances from Kurds abroad.

 

Local Media:

Al Monitor. PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

Hurriyet. PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

Iraqi News. PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

Lions of Rojava. Facebook. Accessed January 7, 2015.

Lions of Rojava. Twitter. Accessed January 7, 2015.

NINA. PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

PKK Online. Accessed January 7, 2015.

Rojava Breaking News. Facebook. Accessed January 7, 2015.

The Rojava Report. Accessed January 7, 2015.

The Rojava Report. Twitter. Accessed January 7, 2015.

Sabah. PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

Today’s Zaman. PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

 

Global Media:

Al Jazeera. PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

BBC. PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

BBC. Profile: The PKK.” March 21, 2013. Accessed January 7, 2015.

CNN. PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

DW.“PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

Foreign Affairs. “PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

Foreign Policy. “PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

The Guardian. “‘Their fight is our fight’: Kurds rush from across Turkey to defend Kobani.” September 26, 2014. Accessed January 7, 2015.

NPR. PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

NYT. “Kurdish Rebel Group to Withdraw From Turkey.” April 25, 2013. Accessed January 7, 2015.

Reuters. Kurdistan Workers Party.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

VICE News. “PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

VOA. PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

WaPo. “PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

 

Think Tanks / Academic:

AEI. “PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

Brookings. “PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

CFR. “Inside the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).” October 19, 2007. Accessed January 7, 2015.

CSIS. “PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

CTC. “PKK.” Accessed December 26, 2014. Accessed January 7, 2015.

FAS. “Kurdistan Workers’ Party.” May 21, 2004. Accessed January 7, 2015.

Global Security. “PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

ICG. “PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

ISW. “PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

TRAC. “PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

 

Government:

Defense Department. “PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

DIA. “Annual Threat Assessment.” February 11, 2014.

NCTC. “Domestic Terrorism in Turkey.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

State Department. “PKK.” Accessed January 7, 2015.

State Department. “KURDISTAN WORKERS’ PARTY.” Chapter 6: Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Country Reports on Terrorism 2013.

Mercenaries in Rojava?

 

According to the TMG Corporation’s Graham Penrose – no; “I have no interest in playing a role with the media and only did so previously in this matter out of necessity and request in order to issue a denial of an untrue allegation (the “mercenary” allegation). ”

See the full press release at: http://tmgcorporateservices.blogspot.com/2014/12/open-letter-to-wwwhttpkurdishquestionco.html