The PKK Exploiting Türkiye's Threats for Recruitment and Donations in Syria
On July 15, 2022, the "Revolutionary Youth Movement" (YDG-H), a group affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) held an urgent meeting at its headquarters in the city of Qamishli to discuss ways to confront the expected Turkish military operation.
The meeting took place under the chairmanship of "Badran Qamishlo", who is a leading figure in the group. The meeting was also attended by more than 120 of the group members and heads of its headquarters, which are deployed in all areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The attendants decided to launch a campaign aimed at mobilizing the local community to face the possible attack.
The recently-launched campaign focused on recruiting young guys and launching military training courses on the use of weapons by civilians, including residents and IDPs, who live in camps such as "Washu Kani" camp in al-Hasakah governorate. These activities were carried out in cooperation and coordination with local councils, communes and institutions affiliated with the Autonomous Administration. The PKK-linked group's members also forced civilians to be involved in non-combat military actions, such as digging tunnels and constructing earth berms at the entrances to cities and towns and around military headquarters in a number of areas, especially Qamishli, Amuda and al-Darbasiyah.
In the past few days, the campaign began with organizing a fund-raising event and medical donations from private and public health centers in the region, especially in the city of Manbij, under the pretext of securing a reserve stock of the most needed materials in anticipation of the expected Turkish military action.
The YDG-H group also mobilized its members and forced a number of civilians and council employees in the Autonomous Administration to participate in two vigils opposite the Russian military bases in the cities of Ayn al-Arab / Kobani and Ayn Issa, to protest against the Russian forces' inaction on the continuous and escalating Turkish air strikes against PKK members and leaders in the region.
In the light of the above, the YDG-H group is still continuing to perform tasks that the SDF and the Autonomous Administration cannot directly carry out for the PKK, especially since such activities violate human and legal rights guaranteed by all international legislation, to parts of which SDF commits as it had already signed an Action Plan with the United Nations.
However, the Autonomous Administration’s declaration of a state of public emergency, which came a week before the launch of the recruitment and fundraising campaign, created a more favorable environment for the revolutionary youth organization to carry out its activities.
It is clear that the PKK is trying to exploit Türkiye’s threats to launch a military operation against it to build and have further popular base within the SDF-controlled areas. This, according to the PKK, can be achieved through recruitment, organizing ideological events and activities carried out by members of the affiliated YDG-H group.
Plus, the PKK benefits from these activities in securing the financial and human resources, which both the PKK and the affiliated groups need, without relying solely on the SDF and the Autonomous Administration's activities, such as the forced recruitment operations carried out by its Defense Office. For instance, the latest activity that was carried out by the PKK was the campaign it launched on July 20, 2022.