This report owes a substantial debt of thanks to dozens of individuals who graciously freed up their time to speak with us about their perspective on the ongoing Syrian civil war and the role of the YPG/PYD in it. Thank you so much.

We also owe special thanks to Ammar al-Kahf and his team at the Omran Center for Strategic Studies for their support.

For their critical yet constructive peer review, we furthermore wish to thank Bedir Mulla Rashid, Mohammad Kanfash (independent researcher) and Mariska van Beijnum (Clingendael).

This report is part of Clingendael’s Levant research programme that analyses hybrid coercive organisations in Syria and Iraq. A more extensive description of this research programme, as well as its outputs, is available here: link

Naturally, the contents of the report remain the responsibility of the authors.