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The Kurdish Front (Arabic: جبهة الأكراد‎, transliterated: Jabhat al-Akrad; Kurdish: Eniya Kurdan‎), former full name: (لواء جبهة الأكراد لنصرة شعبنا السوريLiwa' Jabhat al-'Akrad l-Nusra Shaʿbnā al-Sūrī, "Brigade of the Kurdish Front to Support the Syrian People"), is a predominantly Kurdish Syrian rebel faction participating in the Syrian Civil War.

Kurdish Front
جبهة الأكراد
Jabhat al-Akrad
Participant in the Syrian Civil War
Logo of Jabhat al-Akrad since August 2016[1][2][3][4]
Logo of Jabhat al-Akrad since August 2016[1][2][3][4]
Active22 January 2013 – present
IdeologyPluralist democracy[5]
Group(s)
  • Shahba Women's Forces[3][6][7]
  • Tel Rifaat Revolutionaries Battalion[8]
  • Victory Battalion (2013)[9]
Leaders
HeadquartersAfrin District, Sheikh Maqsood, and Manbij Aleppo Governorate
Area of operations
Size<3,000
Part of
AlliesPeople's Protection Units Flag.svg People's Protection Units[18]
Northern Democratic Brigade

Northern Sun Battalion
Shahba Forces
 Syria (Afrin, 2018)
Levant Front (2014–15, as al-Tawhid Brigade until December 2014)[19]
Al-Nusra Front (sometimes, until June 2013)
Opponent(s) Islamic State[20]
Al-Nusra Front
Syria Syria
Turkey and Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (since 2015)
Battles and war(s)Syrian Civil War
Websitehttp://jabhetakrad.com/

The Kurdish Front operates in Kurdish and ethnically-mixed areas in northern Syria, such as Sheikh Maqsood and Ashrafiyeh districts of Aleppo city, Afrin Canton, the Shahba region, and the northern Raqqa Governorate.[22] It also fought as part of Fatah Halab in the Bustan al-Pasha, Haidariya, and Handarat districts of Aleppo city[19] until November 2015, when Fatah Halab declared war on the Army of Revolutionaries.[23]

IdeologyEdit

During an interview with the commander of the group, Haji Ahmed Kurdi, in April 2014, he stated that the Kurdish Front is part of a "project for a democratic Syria". The goal of the group is to establish a pluralist democracy in Syria, where "every people can live freely, those of different faiths can find their own space to live, and all constitutional rights will be guaranteed".[5]

In a May 2015 interview with Ahmed Barakal, another commander of the group, Barakal said that his group received support from "Western and Gulf sources", that the Kurdish Front was not affiliated with any political party, and that "we do not see the National Coalition as our representative."[19]

HistoryEdit

 
Muhammad Mustafa "Abu Adel" (left) and Shervan Derwish (right), two commanders of the Kurdish Front, in Qabasin during the signing of an agreement with other rebel groups in July 2013

The Kurdish Front Brigade was originally formed on 22 January 2013 as a subgroup of the Free Syrian Brigade in the Raqqa Governorate, affiliated with the Free Syrian Army, by Kurdish, Arab, and Turkmen fighters, some of whom defected from the Syrian Army, from the Raqqa, Aleppo, Latakia, Hama, and Homs governorates.[19][24] Since its founding members of the group also maintained close ties to the Democratic Union Party (PYD), including military coordination with its armed wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG).[citation needed] Some members of the Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party also joined the Kurdish Front.[25] After the Kurdish Front was formed, the influence of other Kurdish FSA groups such as the Azadî Battalion and the Saladin Ayubi Brigade began to decline.[26]

In early 2013, the Kurdish Front participated in the Siege of Menagh Air Base along with other rebel groups. On 28 May 2013, when several thousand FSA and jihadist rebels moved west to launch an attack on Kurdish fighters of the YPG in the Afrin region, the group withdrew its participation in the siege in order to join forces with the YPG to repel the attack on Afrin.[21]

The Kurdish Front joined the Revolutionary Military Council of Aleppo Governorate, led by Abdul Jabbar al-Oqaidi, on 7 March 2013.[27] It was subsequently expelled from the council on 15 August, amid intensifying conflict between the Kurdish Front and its YPG ally on one side and Sunni Islamist rebel groups, including the military council, the al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), on the other.[17][28]

During the Battle of Tell Abyad in July 2013, the al-Nusra Front and (ISIL) captured the border town of Tell Abyad from the Kurdish Front and YPG.[29]

In early 2014, following several months of inactivity, the Kurdish Front re-emerged to collaborate with other Free Syrian Army groups and other rebel factions in attacks on ISIL. During the fighting with ISIL, on 17 February, Alaa Ajabu, Kurdish Front general commander also known by his nom de guerre Abu Satif, was killed in action.[10] On 28 February, ISIL withdrew from the strategic border town of Azaz, which was then taken by the Kurdish Front, the Northern Storm Brigade, and al-Tawhid Brigade.[18] The Kurdish Front briefly joined the Dawn of Freedom Brigades in March.[30]

In July 2014, the Kurdish Front and 10 other groups threatened to leave the frontlines in the Aleppo and Raqqa governorates if they are not aided by other rebels.[20] The Kurdish Front, as part of Euphrates Volcano, re-entered the Raqqa province after they broke the Siege of Kobanî in February 2015.[31] It also cooperated with the Levant Front and other groups in an attempt to advance into al-Bab and Jarabulus.[19]

Army of Revolutionaries and Syrian Democratic ForcesEdit

On 3 May 2015, some of the former members of the northern branches of the Hazzm Movement, including the Atarib Martyrs Brigade, and the Syrian Revolutionaries Front along with the Kurdish Front, the Dawn of Freedom Brigades main component group the Northern Sun Battalion (making the Dawn of Freedom Brigades defunct in the process) and smaller FSA groups formed the Army of Revolutionaries.[32][33] Many of the northern members of the Syrian Revolutionaries Front and Hazzm Movement also joined the Levant Front.

On 8 June 2016, the Kurdish Front established an all-female unit called the Shahba Women's Protection Front.[3][6][7]

In August 2016, the Kurdish Front changed their logo, removing the Syrian independence flag in the process, though they kept the Arabic text. This represents the 4th logo the group has had.[34][35] Their logos for their male and female units are different from the new main logo, as they sometimes employed Kurdish text. Their male unit is referred to in Kurdish as Hêzên Eniya kurdan (HJK) and their female unit asHêzên Jinên Kurdan (HEK).[1][2][3][4]

On 6 October 2017, the first regiment of the Kurdish Front was formed in the Shahba region, consisting of 236 fighters.[16]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "تعازينا لأهلنا في الريف الشمالي والنظام المجرم سوف يحاسب على جرائمه".
  2. ^ a b "بيان إلى الرأي العام".
  3. ^ a b c d "بيان إلى الرأي العام".
  4. ^ a b Partizan, Dr (9 July 2016). "Noticeable change for Jabhat Akrad logo on the right of the photo. FSA flag has been removed in the new logo.pic.twitter.com/1T3AQABfsL".
  5. ^ a b c Bahoz Deniz (20 April 2014). "Interview with Syrian Kurdish Jabhat al-Akrad Commander". Firat News Agency.
  6. ^ a b "تشكيل أول كتيبة عسكرية لنساء مناطق الشهباء" (in Arabic). Hawar News Agency. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  7. ^ a b ypj mediacenter (12 August 2016). "عفرين- اختتام دورة عسكرية لنساء مناطق الشهباء (كتيبة الشهيدة جيان احرص)". Retrieved 1 September 2016 – via YouTube.
  8. ^ "Kurds Front: we will resist to the last gasp". Hawar News Agency. 24 October 2016.
  9. ^ a b "Mohammed Abu Adel in brief". Hawar News Agency. 18 September 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Alaa Ajabu". Violations Documentation Center in Syria. 17 February 2014.
  11. ^ Civiroglu, Mutlu (11 August 2013). "Kurdish Commander: Jihadi Groups in Syria Have Hijacked FSA". Rudaw English. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  12. ^ "The formation of the rebel army". Hawar News Agency. 4 May 2015.
  13. ^ "Kurds Front to Shahba residents: be patient, we are coming". Hawar News Agency. 3 September 2016.
  14. ^ "The second course of the Kurdish Front finished". Hawar News Agency. 27 May 2017.
  15. ^ ""Turkey not a friend of any people, not even its own people"". Firat News Agency. 21 September 2017.
  16. ^ a b c "The announcement of the formation of the first military regiment in Shahba". Hawar News Agency. 6 October 2017.
  17. ^ a b {{cite web|url=http://vvanwilgenburg.blogspot.com/2013/08/fsa-removes-jabhat-al-akrad-from-council.html%7Ctitle=FSA Removes Jabhat al-Akrad From Council|work=Transnational Middle-East Observer|author=Wladimir van Wilgenburg|date=16 August 2013
  18. ^ a b van Wilgenburg, Wladimir (27 March 2014). "Syrian Kurds, rebels find common enemy in ISIS". Al Monitor. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  19. ^ a b c d e "The Kurdish Front: We are fighting the Syrian regime and ISIS and have received support". Arabi 21. 4 May 2015.
  20. ^ a b "Rebels demand help as fighting rages against ISIS in Ghouta". The Daily Star. 3 July 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  21. ^ a b Sheikho, Youssef (28 May 2013). "Syria: Border Clashes Pit FSA Against Kurds". Al-Akhbar. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  22. ^ Genevieve Casagrande (22 November 2016). "THE ROAD TO AR-RAQQAH: BACKGROUND ON THE SYRIAN DEMOCRATIC FORCES" (PDF). Institute for the Study of War.
  23. ^ "Free Syrian Brigade declares Sheikh Maqsud a military zone". Enab Baladi. 29 November 2015.
  24. ^ "22 1 Ar Raqqa, announcement of the establishment of the Kurdish Front Brigade under the leadership of the Free Syrian Army". Zajil Network. 22 January 2013.
  25. ^ "Thousands mourn the body of the martyr Adnan Sheikh Mohammed in Kobani". Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party. 13 June 2013.
  26. ^ "Erdoğan's Kurdish gangs". ANF News. 12 December 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  27. ^ "The Kurdish Front Brigade joined the Military Council in Aleppo". Revolutionary Military Council of Aleppo Governorate. 7 March 2013.
  28. ^ "Military Council in Aleppo separates the brigade of the Kurdish Front on charges of "dealing with regime agents"". Zaman al-Wasl. 17 August 2013.
  29. ^ "Report on the Recent Events Witnessed in Tal Abyad-Al Raqqa". Violation Documentation Centre in Syria. July 2013.
  30. ^ "The Kurdish Front joins the Dawn of Freedom brigades and the fiercest clashes between the opposition forces and IS in Aleppo countryside". Annafir. 30 March 2014.
  31. ^ "Syrian Kurds and rebels 'advance into IS-held Raqqa province'". BBC. 19 February 2015.
  32. ^ "#Syria: Seven FSA groups (incl. Jabhat Akrad, Shams Shamal & Homs Revolutionary Union) form "The Revolutionary Army"". Twitter.
  33. ^ "#SRO - EXCLUSIVE - Former Hazzm and #SRF forces allied with kurds and some #FSA small units to create Jaysh al-Thuwar (in 4 governorates)". Twitter.
  34. ^ "Jabhat al-Akrad". 9 March 2017 – via Wikipedia.
  35. ^ archicivilians (22 February 2015). "Looks like "Jabhat Akrad" recently changed something in their logo - added the Syrian flag again.#Syria #TwitterKurdspic.twitter.com/GIrPh5TnkO".