Syrian Democratic Forces or SDF

Syrian Democratic Forces or SDF

The Syrian Democratic Forces (Arabic: قوات سوريا الديمقراطية‎, translit. Quwwāt Sūriyā al-Dīmuqrāṭīya‎, Kurdish: Hêzên Sûriya Demokratîk‎, Syriac: Ḥaylawotho d’Suriya Demoqraṭoyto‎), commonly abbreviated as SDF or QSD, are a multi-ethnic and multi-religious alliance of Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian, Armenian, Turkmen, Circassian and Chechen[95][96] militias in the Syrian Civil War.

Syrian Democratic Forces
قوات سوريا الديمقراطية
Quwwāt Sūriyā al-Dīmuqrāṭīya
Hêzên Sûriya Demokratîk
Haylawotho d’Suriya Demoqratoyto
Flag of the Syrian Democratic Forces

Flag of the Syrian Democratic Forces
Active 10 October 2015 – present

Shammer tribal militias[4]

Elite Forces[5][6][7][8]
Army of Revolutionaries

  • Euphrates Brigades
  • Jund al-Haramayn Brigade
  • Euphrates Martyrs Brigade
  • Dam Martyrs Brigade
  • Al-Qusais Brigade
  • Manbij Turkmen Brigade
  • Tel Rifaat Revolutionaries Battalion[9]
  • Shahba Women’s Front[10][11][12]

Northern Democratic Brigade[17][18]
Jabhat Thuwar al-Raqqa

  • Katibat Harayir Raqqa[19]

Raqqa Hawks Brigade[20][21]
Raqqa Martyrs Brigade[20][21]
Liwa Owais al-Qorani remnants[22]
Liwa Suqur ar-Raqqa[23]
Shoheda Hamam Turkman Brigade[20]
Free Officers Union
Shahba Brigade[24]
Liberation Brigade faction[25]
Liwa Ahrar al-Raqqa
Ahrar al-Tabqa Brigade
Umanaa al-Raqqa Brigade
Harun al-Rashid Brigade
Tell Abyad Revolutionaries Brigade[23]
Euphrates Liberation Brigade
Manbij Revolutionaries Battalion
Manbij Hawks Brigade
Euphrates Jarabulus Brigades[26][27]

  • Jarabulus Knights Battalion
  • Martyr Zaki Jader Brigade
  • Instructor Jader Brigade
  • Juma al-Jader Brigade
  • Gwadar Martyrs Brigade
  • Jarabulus Armored Battalion

Jarabulus Hawks Brigades[28]
Free Jarabulus Battalion
Al-Bab Military Council Female Battalion[29]
Al-Bab Revolutionary Front
Qebasîn Martyrs Brigade
Al-Bab Countryside Martyrs Battalion
Free Arima Battalion
Martyr Silo al-Rai Brigade
Kieba Martyrs Brigade
al-Shaitat tribe militias [30]
Syriac Military Council (MFS)[31]

Liwa Siqur el-Badiye
Harabiyya tribe militias[36]
Zubayd tribe militias[37]

Military councils

Political wing

Syrian Democratic Council

Leaders SDF Spokesman: Talal Selo[44]
Headquarters Qamishli (capital city)[45]
Area of operations Northern Syria

Strength 80,000+ fighters[48][49] (as of March 2017)

  • 36,000 YPG[50]
  • 24,000 YPJ[50]
  • 20,000 from exclusively ethnic Arab militias[50][51]
  • Several thousand from other exclusive & mixed groups
Allies Flag of the United States.svg United States[52][53][54][55]
 United Kingdom (alleged[64][65])
 Germany[66] (denied by Germany)[67]
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan[68][69]

Kurdistan Workers’ Party
International Freedom Battalion[72][73]
Antifascist Internationalist Tabur[74]
Sinjar Resistance Units [75]
Syrian opposition Euphrates Knights Brigade[76]

Militias and police forces of Rojava Asayish[77]

  • SWAT Units (HAT)[78]

Khabour Guards[80][81][82]

Rojava Civilian defence units
Self-Defense Forces (HXP)[83]

  • Special Forces[84]

Civilian Defense Force (HPC)[85]

Opponents  Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant[86]
Syrian opposition Syrian opposition
al-Qaeda affiliates Turkey[87]
Battles and wars Syrian Civil War

The SDF is dominated in manpower and militarily led by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a mostly Kurdish militia.[97][98] Founded in October 2015, the SDF states its mission as fighting to create a secular, democratic and federal Syria, along the lines of the Rojava Revolution in northern Syria. The updated December 2016 constitution[99][100] of the Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria names the SDF as its official defence force.[101]


The prime opponents of the SDF and their allies are the Salafist and Islamic fundamentalist groups involved in the civil war, in particular the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Syrian opposition, al-Qaeda affiliates and their allies. The SDF has focused primarily on ISIL,[102] successfully driving them from important strategic areas, such as Al-Hawl, Shaddadi,[103] Tishrin Dam and Manbij.[104][105]


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