Ten years of YPJ: The history and role of the Women's Defense Units in North and East Syria and beyond

YPJ fighters

[Editor's note: Nilüfer Koç, Spokesperson for the Commission on Foreign Relations of the Kurdistan National Congress, will be speaking at Ecosocialism 2023 over July 1–2 in Naarm/Melbourne, Australia. For more information about the conference, visit ecosocialism.org.au.]

The YPJ Information and Documentation Office published a booklet to mark the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Women's Defense Units.

Following the uprising of the so-called Arab Spring, the people of Rojava (Western Kurdistan, Northern Syria) took over the administration from the hands of the Syrian Regime and established a confederal, democratic self-administration. The Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) is an all-female military self-defense force that was founded in 2013, with the aim of protecting the people and women of Rojava and their right to self-administration.

Since then, YPJ has participated in all military operations, fighting different Islamist groups such as Al-Nusra and ISIS. In 2014, when the city of Kobane was besieged and attacked by ISIS, the fighters of YPJ – alongside our all-gendered People’s Protection Units (YPG) – played an active role in liberating the city. During this time, YPJ fighters gained international attention for their courage and resistance, becoming a role model for women around the world fighting for freedom, self-determination and gender equality.

Download the booklet by clicking here.