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Kurdish fighters seek land of their own in Syria

The YPG, part of a group branded as terrorists, want Kurdish self-rule on territory of their own.

By Ed Adamczyk
Kurdish fighters seek land of their own in Syria
Kurdish Peshmerga soldier walks in Makhmur town, after Peshmerga took control of the town from Islamic State militants, northwest of Erbil, Kurdistan region, Iraq, August 28, 2014. UPI/Mohammed al Jumaily | License Photo

RAS AL-AIN , Syria, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- A 30,000-man Kurdish paramilitary force says it is ready to help defeat the Islamic State, seeking a part of Syria for a homeland.

The YPG or People's Protection Units -- an affiliate of a group regarded as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Turkey -- controls the Syrian town of Ras Al-Ain and intends to keep it as the start of an independent country for Kurds.

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"We are ready to cooperate with anyone who respects the will of our people and accepts us as we are. We are building a new system within the old regime," said local YPG commander Hussein Kocher, a 40-year-old local commander. The group is part of the force defending the city of Kobane, on the Turkey-Syria border, from the repeated attacks of IS. The Kurdish forces reclaimed a strategic hill overlooking the city Wednesday, a Kurdish spokesman said.

The Syrian Kurd has spent nearly half his life fighting for Kurdish independence, mostly against Turkey, the Wall Street Journal noted. A part of the convoluted political structure of the militant movement in Syria is that these battle-hardened Kurds, after they help defeat IS, intend to install an administration of self-rule to an independent state. The YPG is tied to the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, a radical socialist group whose mission is that of Kurdish independence. It has been involved in guerrilla warfare in Turkey since 1978 and PKK's leader, Abdullah Ocalan, was captured by CIA and Turkish forces in 1999 and imprisoned since. Although unrecognized by any government, Kurdish self-rule has already come to Ras Al-Ain, Kocher said in an interview. A civil marriage law, the first in the Middle East, and a ban on polygamy has been adopted.

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