The Chameleons of Rojava

Ben Davies

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The recent exploitation of the collapse of the rebel front line in Aleppo by the PYD’s armed wing (YPG) and its allies in the Syrian Democratic Forces took some observers by surprise.

Having been praised by many (including Syrian revolution supporters) for determined resistance to the Da’esh juggernaut, the YPG became a pariah almost overnight for attacking every rebel group in Aleppo in its bid to grab as much territory as possible before the regime got there first.

In 2014 there had been something of a thaw in relations between the YPG and various rebel groups after years of fighting that had raged ever since the YPG took control of Syria’s northern Kurdish regions. The threat of Da’esh bearing down upon them forced several groups into an uneasy truce against a common enemy. The crucible was Kobane, which almost fell to Da’esh in September 2014 before FSA and YPG units drove the…

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