‘We don’t collaborate with the oppressive Assad regime’: Kurdish military group

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The Kurdish Protection Group (HPG) is considered by some Syrians to be the military arm of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, operating in Syria.

An Al Arabiya correspondent accessed one of the group’s camps in Syria to investigate their goals and day-to-day operations.

According to interviews, the goals declared by the HPG include protecting the regions that are home to a Kurdish majority in Syria.

Zein Hasky, one of the female trainers of the HPG said: “We suffered from injustice and persecution for 50 years, and we still think that we are not accepted by the Syrians, that is why we feel the need to create our own military forces, to impose ourselves on the ground.”

Despite the declaration that the HPG is geared towards protecting the country’s Kurds, the group has been accused of perpetrating violence against President Bashar al-Assad’s opponents.

“We are angry of these immoral accusations,” said Jamsheed, a field commander at the visited HPG camp. “We are rebels, and rebels do not collaborate with oppressive regimes like Assad’s.”

The large force operating in Syria is divided into many camps, some receive new recruits and provide them with basic military training while other camps offer advanced training for more experienced fighters.

Syrians fear that such a well-trained force could be used to turn northern Syria into a battle ground for the PKK’s fight against Turkey.

However, a field trainer says: “We are all Syrian, and we will not impose our will on anybody, and we won’t take anyone to any place against his will.”

Another trainer cited March’s announcement by jailed PKK chief Abdullah Ocalan calling for an immediate cease-fire and for thousands of his fighters to withdraw from Turkish territory.

This was seen as a major step toward ending one of the world’s bloodiest insurgencies.

Ocalan said: “We have reached the point where the guns must be silenced and where ideas must speak. A new era has started, where it is politics, not guns, which is at the forefront.”

“We are inspired by the thoughts of Abdullah Ocalan, he is a Kurdish leader and we will follow his path,” stated one trainer at the HPG camp.

HPG has also come under fire by some Kurdish Political leaders who criticize their claim that they are the only ones who have the legitimate right to carry arms and defend Kurdish people in Syria.

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