Press conference on October 15 announcing the formation of the Democratic Forces of Syria. Photo via Kurdish Question.
The Democratic Forces of Syria held a founding meeting on October 12 and released a final declaration three days later, Kurdish Question reported on October 17.
The new group, which aims to achieve greater unity among democratic military forces in Syria. It includes the People's Protection Units (YPG) and Women's Protection Units (YPJ), the key armed groups in the largely Kurdish area of Rojava, and several Arab- and Syriac-based armed groups. Altogether, 13 groups are involved.
The group's statement said there was an important need for unity among democratic military forces in Syria in order to work towards peace. It said all sectors of Syria must accept a right to legitimate self-defence, and that this should be the basis of a national military force for Syria's future.
A joint command, control body and a military council were established to join forces and coordinate between these revolutionary forces. The group's October 15 declaration called on the international anti-ISIS coalition to support the unified national military force.
The final declaration of the new force said: “Attended by commanders of many revolutionary military forces, the founding meeting for the Democratic Forces of Syria was organised on October 12, 2015 in Rojava, Syria.
“In this meeting, both the political and military conditions in Syria and throughout the region were thoroughly evaluated. Developments occurring in Syria were discussed as well as the past battles and ongoing threats.
“It was agreed during this extensive assembly that the unity of democratic forces fighting in the country are an essential step for the revolution in Syria, as well as to get through these challenging times and move toward peace.
“The early experiences of revolutionary forces that supported the revolution in Syria and Rojava and their structural and operational weaknesses were discussed. It was said that relying on an external invasion was the main factor as to why the revolution strayed from the right path.
“It was recognised that to create a democratic Syria and build a diverse society where freedom could be attained, with the legitimate rights of all peoples being granted, all sectors of Syria and their forces would need to be united and have one major goal — creating a democratic Syria.
“To support and defend all the people of Syria against foreign and domestic threats, the Democratic Forces of Syria will base their struggle upon legitimate defence and be a national force in a future Syria.
“It was pledged that the Democratic Forces of Syria will heed international measures and treaties to defend the civilian population. At the same time, the Democratic Forces of Syria asked all forces fighting in Syria to respect those guidelines…
“At the end of the meeting, all groups that support a democratic revolution in Syria as well as all young men and women of Syria were asked to join the Democratic Forces of Syria.”