A total of 45 individuals from Germany have travelled to Iraq and Syria since April 2017 to join the ranks of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), according to data from the German Interior Ministry, Germany’s Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung reported.
The German Interior Ministry released data on people joining the YPG in response to a parliamentary question submitted by the Left Party. Prior to April 2017, the number of people from Germany who joined YPG ranks in Iraq and Syria was 204, 69 of whom were German citizens.
The German newspaper reported that most of these individuals who “had links to Germany” left the country to fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) along with YPG fighters in Syria.
Among those who have joined the YPG since April 2017 from Germany were reportedly German citizens, Turkish citizens, German citizens of Turkish descent and Syrian citizens.
Turkish authorities believe the YPG, the armed wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), is an extension of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey, which has been carrying out an insurgency against the Turkish army in the Southeast since the 1980s in a struggle for Kurds’ political and cultural rights.
The US considers the YPG to be the most effective force in the fight against ISIL in Syria.