People’s Protection Units or YPG

People’s Protection Units or YPG


The People’s Protection Units (Kurdish: Yekîneyên Parastina Gel‎, یەکینەکانی پاراستنی گەل pronounced [jɑkinæjen pɑrɑstinɑ gæl]; YPG) is a Kurdish militia in Syria and the primary component of Rojava‘s Syrian Democratic Forces.[4][5][6][7] The YPG is mostly ethnically Kurdish, but it also includes Arabs, Western volunteers, and the Syriac Military Council, a militia of Assyrian Christians.

The YPG was formed in 2004 as the armed wing of the Kurdish leftist Democratic Union Party. It expanded rapidly in the Syrian Civil War and came to predominate over other armed Kurdish groups.

People’s Protection Units
Yekîneyên Parastina Gel (YPG)
‏وحدات حماية الشعب‎‎
People's Protection Units Flag.svg

YPG flag
Active 2011–present
Allegiance Federation of Northern Syria – Rojava (2012–present)[1]Democratic Union Party(2004–present)
Type Light infantry militia
Size 50,000[2]
Part of Syrian Democratic Forces
Motto(s) YPG dimeşe, erd û ezman diheje (YPG is marching, and the earth and sky [or heavens] tremble)
Engagements Syrian Civil War

Iraqi Civil War

Website Official website
General Commander Sîpan Hemo
Spokesperson Rêdûr Xelîl
Spokesperson Xebat Îbrahîm
Special forces commander Ali Boutan [3]
Ciwan Îbrahîm, Roşna Akêd

In early 2015, the group won a major victory over the Islamic State at the Siege of Kobanî, where the YPG began to receive air and ground support from the United States and other coalition nations. Since then, the YPG has primarily fought against ISIL, as well as on occasion fighting other Syrian rebel groups.[8]


In late 2015, the YPG founded the Syrian Democratic Forces upon the US’s urging, as an umbrella group to better incorporate Arabs and minorities into the war effort. The SDF’s Raqqa offensive was launched in late 2016 to capture the Arab city of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital.

A light infantry force, the YPG has limited military equipment and few armored vehicles. They receive substantial air support from the United States and some support from Russia.


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