Why are Westerners flocking to join the Kurdish YPG? It's not all because of Daesh

Published June 8th, 2015 - 09:07 GMT
Not all Western recruits are in Rojava to see Daesh. (AFP/File)
Not all Western recruits are in Rojava to see Daesh. (AFP/File)

We've heard a lot about the Westerners flocking to Rojava, Syria, where they link up with Kurdish militias fighting Daesh (ISIS) militants there. One of them is Hollywood actor Michael Enright, who we've discovered has been making a lot more enemies than just Daesh

But not every Westerner blazes through the scene like Enright. According to social media from the ground, other European and American recruits are coming for an entirely different reason.

Recently on Reddit, a user from an unidentified European country posted in the site's Ask Me Anything (AMA) section: "AMA: Westerner who fought with the YPG for 4 1/2 months." Per the site's standards, his post had been verified with photo evidence, and like Enright, this Reddit user went to Syria without any previous military training.

He says he went to join the fight against Daesh, but like another commenter pointed out, it's not just the militant group these Westerners are coming to see.

Attracted by the long struggle for statehood that's become the cultural symbol of the Kurdish people, other recruits site an interest in the larger, Marxist-based philosophy the Kurds take from Abdullah Öcalan — the imprisoned leader of the militant organization Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). The user linked us to this YouTube video of a young German recruit fighting with the Kurdish militia YPG. He explains why he came to Syria, and it has nothing to do with Daesh.

"With the revolution in Rojava, we could see Ocalan's ideology in practice for the first time," he says. "To call this a Kurdish revolution doesn't do it justice." Watch the full video below.




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