ERBIL (Rudaw) – The United States acknowledged that the Kurdish-majority Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) it has been supporting against Islamic State (ISIS) are becoming much more diverse and are successfully absorbing various groups and volunteers from non-Kurdish backgrounds.
“Operations around Shadadi have been a good example of how the SDF continues to operate effectively while absorbing these new, diverse volunteers into the organization,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Tuesday according to Anadolu news.
While many of the fighters who make up the ranks of the SDF are from the Syrian Kurdish Peoples Protection Units (YPG) other fighters from Arab, Assyrian and Turkmen backgrounds have also joined the ranks of the SDF, united by their common opposition to ISIS.
Non-Kurds, in Earnest’s estimation, make-up around 40% of the SDF. Many of these fighters are “smaller forces coming to volunteer and joining the Syrian Democratic Forces.”
Having a group which isn’t exclusively Kurdish is important when it comes to routing ISIS from Arab-majority areas, such as the province of Raqqa.
The SDF achieved another victory against ISIS late last month when it liberated the town of Shadadi (previously home to an ISIS market for abducted Yazidi sex-slaves) and in doing so consolidated its control over all of Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah.