With encourage and intimidation PYD trying to impose forced conscription in Manbij with American approval

Members of Manbij Military Council in a parade during burial ceremony of fighters who were killed in Raqqa city in October 2017-Hawar agency.

PYD-affiliated militias started lately promoting forced conscription for young men between 18-30 years old in Manbij city in Aleppo eastern countryside which is under PYD control since August 2016 following previous attempts which failed due to complete refusal from the locals.

US officials approved the idea

On 16 October US officials held a meeting with 5 Asayish officers and 2 “People’s Protection Units YPG” to discuss Manbij future which is under PYD-affiliated Manbij Military Council.

The meeting included Asayish commander in Manbij goes by pseudonym “Zenyar”, PYD head of educational office Eilam Jarkas, Shirvan Darwish the spokesperson of Manbij Military Council, the judge Abdulrahman Batran and PYD foreign committee translator.

Special source told NSO that Manbij Military council representatives offered the American delegation the “self-protection” project in Manbij which aim to enlist the locals in PYD-affiliated militias and the source said the US officials approved the project.

This project came after US officials requested Self-Autonomous officials to empty Manbij city from Asayish and YPG forces before the end of November and to form “Civil Police” instead of Asayish to protect the city with Manbij Military Council”.

Forming special committees to convince locals 

After the meeting with US officials where the idea of forced conscription was discussed, PYD formed special committees to communicate with the locals to discuss forced conscription and convince them of its importance under the name “Civil protection duty” while neighborhoods councils in Manbij ”Kominats” received voice message from the head of eastern neighborhoods Aby Arab asking the representatives to prepare the locals for “civil defense duty” through a meetings with them before committees visit.

The committee that visited Abu Qalqal area 25km south Manbij include the head of the internal committee Abdo Mostafa,the deputy of the foreign committee Imad Moussa, women committee representative Fatima Abdo Aousi, and the reprehensive of Shams al-Shamal Aqeed Khasho, the committee met with locals in al-Hamer area villages “al-Hamer al-Gharbyie, al-Hamer al-Sharqyie,Mazyounet al-Hamer, Jdaidat al-Hamer and Beylan” on 20th October and Abu Qalqal area and its villages in the next day, committee also visited al-Zanqal village and nearby area west Manbij and held meetings with neighborhoods committees in villages’ schools.

The meetings also at neighborhoods inside the city after it was approved by Manbij Military council and the legislation council through voice message of the head if the eastern neighborhoods Abu Arab.

Encourage and intimidation didn’t work for several villages

NSO reporter in Manbij roamed areas visited by the committees and met with locals who attended the meetings and said the committee tried to lure them with advantages if they sent their sons to conscription such as serving inside Manbij borders, monthly salaries, food baskets, fuel and acquittal the other sons if one joined the duty, the service is 9 months and each family should give one son at least.

The locals quoted a representative who said “you only care about bread and fuel and you don’t know how to provide it, there are young men who sacrifice to bring it to them and it is time for them to go back to their areas and you depend on your sons in this”.

At the same time the committee tried to deliver messages saying the consequences of refusing “civil protection duty” saying it is better than going to Assad regime or opposition- held areas.

Some locals who were met by NSO reporter expressed fear from imposing forced conscription especially that PYD officials promised it will be inside Manbij city borders which means they will be on frontlines with Turkish-backed opposition groups which many fighters are related to Manbij families so the young men who will be enlisted in Manbij will be against their relatives which is what PYD seek according to locals who refuse the forced conscription.

Previous attempts failed 

This attempts to impose forced conscription in Manbij is the second after Manbij Military Council-affiliated Shams al-Shamal Battalions launched arrest and holding IDs in al-Aloush and Ghera villages to enlist them which was strongly refused by locals which forced Manbij Military council to deny taking rule in it and accused Shams al-Shamal of launching it without the council’s approval and they released the detaines and gave back the IDs.

The attempt was widely refused by locals who formed a delegation that visited Manbij Military Council and expressed protest against it which was justified by the council as “individual diligence” and released all detainees and gave back IDs.

Nezar Hmaidy

A graduate of law from Aleppo University. NSO reporter in east Aleppo countryside.