Fighters from the IRPGF hold up a placard in solidarity with Chinese feminists (Twitter/IRPGF)
International volunteers have called for a “revolution” across southern Turkey and northern Syria, after forming what they claim to be the first strictly “anarchist” contingent inside the Syrian Kurd YPG militia.
The International Revolutionary People’s Guerrilla Forces (IRPGF), created in April, is a cell within the International Freedom Battalion, the grouping of foreigners who travelled to support the YPG in their fight against the Islamic State group.
We want to make it clear that our politics and revolutionary struggle are not confined to Rojava
– ‘Black October’
While they are by no means the first international volunteers to travel to northern Syria, their goals of a revolution within Syrian-Kurd area of “Rojava”, and the Kurd-dominated southern areas of Turkey, will alarm Ankara.
Many within the IRPGF have committed to fight against the Turkish military and their allies, who entered Syria in August partly to neutralise the YPG as a threat on their southern border.
Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the Turkish PKK, which has fought a decades-long war with the Turkish state. On Wednesday, the Turkish government said it could not accept a US decision to arm the YPG with heavy weapons to fight the Islamic State group.
For anarchists, as well as other ideological volunteers in Rojava, this war is one front of an internationalist revolution, not merely resistance against IS. Whether or not the IRPGF will ever eventually fight in Greece, Brazil, Belarus or China remains to be seen, but they are definitely more than happy to find themselves on the front lines in Syria.
Two members of the IRPGF, who go by the pseudonyms Heval Sores and Black October, agreed to speak with Middle East Eye about their experiences, and the role of international anarchists in Syria.