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Canadian Civilians Fighting ISIS (including threats to YPG)

The Bread Guy

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Bumped after quite a while with this YT video (~45 minutes) posted last weekend of a chap identified as a Canadian fighting w/YPG in Syria near the Iraq border.

All I'll add as a teaser is:  Interesting ideological mix there.

Enjoy!
 

blacktriangle

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The poor guy will probably get more hassle from CSIS and RCMP when he returns than the terrorists that come back.
 

The Bread Guy

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More (UK media) on the Canadian chap interviewed in the video posted here earlier this week ...
he rise of Isis attracted thousands of foreigners from around the world to Syria. But it wasn’t just religious extremists who were drawn here. 

While scores were travelling to Syria for jihad, a smaller but no less committed group of internationalists was heading to the other side of the battle.

“People back home like to think Daesh [Isis] is just a problem for the Middle East and that’s it,” says Kyle Town, a mild-mannered 30-year-old from Thunder Bay, in Ontario, Canada, using the Arabic name for Isis. “But it doesn’t just exist here. It affects everyone.”

Town, a former sheet-metal worker, is among thousands of westerners who travelled to Syria to fight Isis and take part in a “revolution” led by a hitherto little-known Kurdish group in the country’s north.

Among them are former soldiers, charity workers, students, engineers and all manner of anarchists and leftists. Eight Britons who went to fight Isis – men and women – died in towns and cities unknown to most people back home.

The volunteers have drawn comparisons to the International Brigades, the foreign fighters who travelled to Spain to battle Franco’s fascists in the 1930s and were made famous by George Orwell. This time, though, they are on the winning side.

Isis’s self-declared caliphate is all but defeated, leaving those who came to fight it at a crossroads. Many say they are not ready to return home, and instead will stay on in Syria. But as the civil war transitions to a new phase, their role is uncertain.

“There is a lot of work besides fighting Daesh,” says Town, who is currently in an infantry unit. “There are all sorts of civilian works. I came here because I wanted to participate in this revolution as best I can.” 

Town is a member of a leftist Kurdish militia called the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which has counted thousands of western volunteers in its ranks over the past few years ...
More @ link
 

Cloud Cover

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standingdown said:
The poor guy will probably get more hassle from CSIS and RCMP when he returns than the terrorists that come back.

I'm sure they know enough about him already. No poetry for him!!
 

daftandbarmy

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Cloud Cover said:
I'm sure they know enough about him already. No poetry for him!!

It's all been done before, of course, and it seems as if these folks don't have a very good time messing about 'informally' in other people's wars....

These two recent books portray the war from Canadian viewpoints -- those of Dr. Norman Bethune, who ran a mobile blood-transfusion service for the Republican forces, and Ronald Liversedge, a working-class Canadian who fought in the International Brigades with the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion. Neither man had a very good war, and in some ways they foreshadowed the Canadians of later generations who went off to fight in other people’s wars.

https://thetyee.ca/Culture/2014/08/16/Canadian-Rogues-Spanish-Civil-War/

 

The Bread Guy

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daftandbarmy said:
These two recent books portray the war from Canadian viewpoints -- those of Dr. Norman Bethune, who ran a mobile blood-transfusion service for the Republican forces, and Ronald Liversedge, a working-class Canadian who fought in the International Brigades with the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion. Neither man had a very good war, and in some ways they foreshadowed the Canadians of later generations who went off to fight in other people’s wars.

https://thetyee.ca/Culture/2014/08/16/Canadian-Rogues-Spanish-Civil-War/
And based on some of the other YPG "international academy" videos and the multiple references to "friends" (and the occasional slip into "comrades"), there's a lot of the same ideological work being done with today's internationalists fighting ISIS -- with this group, anyway.
 

medicineman

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daftandbarmy said:
It's all been done before, of course, and it seems as if these folks don't have a very good time messing about 'informally' in other people's wars....

These two recent books portray the war from Canadian viewpoints -- those of Dr. Norman Bethune, who ran a mobile blood-transfusion service for the Republican forces, and Ronald Liversedge, a working-class Canadian who fought in the International Brigades with the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion. Neither man had a very good war, and in some ways they foreshadowed the Canadians of later generations who went off to fight in other people’s wars.

https://thetyee.ca/Culture/2014/08/16/Canadian-Rogues-Spanish-Civil-War/

Bethune made a habit of it though...he became a senior medical officer for Mao.  He's actually considered a hero in China.

MM
 

Cloud Cover

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... and he’s a hero to many Canadians who have been accordingly indoctrinated.
 

The Bread Guy

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standingdown said:
The poor guy will probably get more hassle from CSIS and RCMP when he returns than the terrorists that come back.
It might be a bit ... complicated for "foreign legion/internationalist" folks fighting with the YPG

Good bit:  They're fighting ISIS/Daesh face-to-face - the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Tricky bit (1):  Their links to the PKK, who are considered terrorists by our NATO ally, Turkey.  One suggestion of said links:  check out the picture of the big moustached face of the guy @ the front of the classroom at the YPG's "International Academy" (all filmed by the same guy who did the Canadian's interview).  That would be this guy, one of the founding members of the PKK who's been  a "guest" of the Turks since 1999.

Tricky bit (2):  In fact, Canada Revenue Agency just dinged a Toronto charity for being "linked to or openly support(ing) the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and/or armed militia groups and political groups that are closely aligned with the PKK", which Canada also considers a terrorist organization.

Hence, the messiness - and the whole "Kurdish flag on Canadian uniforms" fracas during the summer of 2016.

#KurdsWithinKurdsWithinKurds
 

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CBH99

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I understand there is, sometimes, unfortunately, a 'formal' designation of 'terrorist group' and a 'we are going to label them terrorists even though we execute similar activities as they do'.  In this case, my PERSONAL opinion - is that Turkey lacks any real credibility when it comes to labeling them terrorists.

They were fighting ISIS while Turkey was buying oil from them.  They were fighting ISIS while Turkey bombed their villages -- not individual targets, VILLAGES. 



Turkey considers judges, students, teachers, soldiers, news anchors, and probably your mom's faithful cat - as "terrorist suspects" - and has imprisoned hundreds of it's own citizens on grounds that wouldn't hold up anywhere else in NATO or the EU.  (Hence the EU saying 'hell no' to Turkey ever becoming a member.)


When Turkey no longer has rooms filled with people hogtied in their underwear, and judges & teachers can perform their duties without fear of arrest & indeterminate detainment...maybe I'll start taking Turkey's 'concerns' with a bit more sincerity. 

Until then, I don't believe Canada should put too much weight on Turkey's designation of 'terrorists' when Canadian citizens are returning.  We should be screening them ourselves and using our own judgment on whether or not they fit the criteria of what WE would consider terrorist acts/groups.
 

The Bread Guy

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CBH99 said:
... my PERSONAL opinion - is that Turkey lacks any real credibility when it comes to labeling them terrorists.  They were fighting ISIS while Turkey was buying oil from them.  They were fighting ISIS while Turkey bombed their villages -- not individual targets, VILLAGES ... When Turkey no longer has rooms filled with people hogtied in their underwear, and judges & teachers can perform their duties without fear of arrest & indeterminate detainment...maybe I'll start taking Turkey's 'concerns' with a bit more sincerity ...
Agreed, which is what can make the political part of the equation a bit murkier when designating terrorist groups, especially when an (at least alleged) NATO ally also considers a group "bad guys".

South of us, I notice late last year, the U.S. State Dep't removed the YPG grouping from it's "bad guys" list -- even if 1)  the int side still said there's links there, and 2)  the U.S. offering bounties on some PKK hombres.

Bottom line:  if I was a travel agent, I wouldn't book these folks' return tickets through Turkey ...
 

The Bread Guy

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CBH99 said:
... I don't believe Canada should put too much weight on Turkey's designation of 'terrorists' when Canadian citizens are returning.  We should be screening them ourselves and using our own judgment on whether or not they fit the criteria of what WE would consider terrorist acts/groups.
Interestingly, one chap in the U.K. is facing terrorism charges after fighting with the YPG - highlights mine ...
A British man wrote in a diary that he had an "amazing time" fighting against the Islamic State in Syria, a court has heard.

Aidan James, from Merseyside, allegedly described the terror group as "the biggest threat the world has seen since Hitler" and said he fought on the "front line numerous times", killing IS soldiers.

The 28-year-old had no previous military knowledge when he allegedly set out to join the conflict in August 2017.

He is accused of receiving training from the Marxist group PKK before linking up with Kurdish YPG units, otherwise known as People's Protection Units, in Syria.

The Old Bailey has heard that his four months of combat amounted to "terrorism, even if his eventual fighting was against other terrorists".

He is said to have "fuelled violence and devastation" in Syria by travelling to fight with guns and explosives.

The father-of-one denies engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts and two charges of attending a place used for terrorist training.

On the second day of his trial at the Old Bailey, pictures of him posing with YPG insignia wearing military clothing were shown to the jury.

A diary entry describing the worsening situation in Syria was also revealed to the court.

In December 2017, James allegedly wrote: "The situation with Turkey continues to worsen... the war is long from over but I am playing my part in this war and feel good to be a part of history and with the revolutionary force of YPG.

"Daesh (IS) is the biggest threat the world has seen since Hitler so anything I can do in these operations is good."

In another handwritten entry, James said he was "waiting for Daesh to give me the opertunity (sic) to fire".

He described his group's "quest to vanquish Daesh from this place and send the rechid (sic) souls straight to hell".

James also wrote that he got "a kill" that day and was "very happy to get rid of another rat".

One photograph shown to jurors was of a black Islamic State flag with the caption: "This is the evil flag of the worlds enemy ISIS, Daesh. IS flag (took) from a window in Deir Ezzor by me. F*** Daesh!!" ...
More on the guy's legal fight via Google News here.
 

The Bread Guy

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This commentary from Turkish media, offering a bit of hope for folks fighting w/the YPG looking for friends if/when they want to return to Canada (Turkey, bad - U.S./helpers, good) ...
The U.S. continues its search to provide military support to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is controlled by the PKK terrorist organization's Syrian affiliate, the People's Protection Units (YPG). With U.S. ground troops preparing to partially withdraw from Syria, Washington has been looking to provide the terrorist group the necessary equipment and backing it needs. The latest move on the matter was revealed yesterday, as the U.K. agreed to deploy additional military forces in Syria alongside France to allow the U.S. to withdraw its troops from the ongoing fight against the remnants of Daesh.

According to U.S. officials, the U.K. and France are expected to increase their special forces in the region by 10 to 15 percent, although the exact numbers remain secret.

As the journal Foreign Policy and The Guardian reported, this development was perceived as "a major victory… for Donald Trump's national security team" because few other countries had been willing to help out.

Yet, the U.K. and France's support seem to not be enough for the U.S. to secure the YPG's condition since another report by the Danish daily Politiken said that the U.S. also demanded Denmark send ground troops to Syria and provide military training to YPG terrorists ...
 

The Bread Guy

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Some of the latest from Turkey et. al. ...
Turkey will carry out a military operation in a Kurdish-controlled area east of the Euphrates in northern Syria, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, its third offensive to dislodge Kurdish militia fighters close to its border. 

Turkey had in the past warned of carrying out military operations east of the river, but put them on hold after agreeing with the United States to create a safe zone inside Syria along its northeastern border with Turkey that would be cleared of the Kurdish YPG militia*.

But Ankara has accused Washington of stalling progress on setting up the safe zone and has demanded it sever its relations with the YPG, Washington's main ally on the ground in Syria during the battle against Islamic State, but which Turkey sees as a terrorist organisation. 

Erdogan said both Russia and the United States have been told of the operation, but did not say when it would begin. It would mark the third Turkish incursion into Syria in as many years.

"We entered Afrin, Jarablus, and Al-Bab. Now we will enter the east of the Euphrates," Erdogan said on Sunday during a motorway-opening ceremony ...
* - This would be the militia at least several Canadians have reportedly joined to fight against ISIS.
 

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milnews.ca said:
Some of the latest from Turkey et. al. ...* - This would be the militia at least several Canadians have reportedly joined to fight against ISIS.

Indeed. Serving with the Kurds in the vicinity of the Turkish border is not a decision that can really be considered wise... Hopefully any Canadians in the beaten zone have the smarts to get out while they can. There's really nothing our government can do for them if the Turks capture them as combatants of a group they deem a terrorist insurgency.
 

The Bread Guy

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Brihard said:
Indeed. Serving with the Kurds in the vicinity of the Turkish border is not a decision that can really be considered wise... Hopefully any Canadians in the beaten zone have the smarts to get out while they can. There's really nothing our government can do for them if the Turks capture them as combatants of a group they deem a terrorist insurgency.
Things are looking up -- for the moment, anyway ...
Turkey and the US have agreed to establish a joint operation centre to manage tensions between US-backed Kurdish militia and Turkish forces in northern Syria.

The announcement from the Turkish government came after three days of tense negotiations with US officials hoping to forestall a Turkish attack on the Kurdish YPG group, which controls large swathes of northern Syria.

Turkey sees the YPG as a terrorist offshoot of the Kurdish PKK, which has fought a bloody insurgency inside its territory for the past 35 years.

The defence ministry said in a statement that Ankara had agreed with US officials to “implement without delay” the first measures aimed at eliminating Turkey’s concerns.

“In that framework, to quickly create in Turkey a joint operation centre to coordinate and manage the implementation of the safe zone with the US.”

Ankara has stepped up threats in recent days to launch an offensive against the YPG.

That put the United States in a difficult position as a Nato ally of Turkey but also a supporter of the YPG as its main frontline partner against the Islamic State ...
 

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Brihard said:
Indeed. Serving with the Kurds in the vicinity of the Turkish border is not a decision that can really be considered wise... Hopefully any Canadians in the beaten zone have the smarts to get out while they can. There's really nothing our government can do for them if the Turks capture them as combatants of a group they deem a terrorist insurgency.

:sarcasm:
Mind, if captured the could claim to be ISIS or Al Queda, then Canada would fly them here in a heartbeat, and give them seed money to buy a strip mall.
:sarcasm:
 

brihard

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Fishbone Jones said:
:sarcasm:
Mind, if captured the could claim to be ISIS or Al Queda, then Canada would fly them here in a heartbeat, and give them seed money to buy a strip mall.
:sarcasm:

I’ll help with the luggage if they’ll pay OT.
 

The Bread Guy

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According to the attached report, Canada's in the top five of countries whose nationals are fighting against ISIS/Daesh in groups like the YPG, with about 1 out of 4 saying they're military vets (source).
 

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