Everyday life in an YPG training camp

The threat of Turkish bombs, the importance of teaching the principles of the Kurdish revolution in the training camps, learning how to use a weapon... Arthur describes his day-to-day experience.

YPG-Training camp for international volunteers, canton of Cizîrê

Turkish bombings
April 25, 2017

Because of news from Turkish bombings on Sinjar and on an YPG base of Rojava (not ours) I will have to shut down all means of communication.

All of the fighters have to turn off their cellphones for safety reasons.

This afternoon, military airplanes, probably Navy Seals, have overflown our camp. Were they to discourage Turkish aircraft from another nasty strike? The Americans must quite furious.
Soon I will write more!
A little picture from us. At the summit of the pylon: the YPG flag.

Back at the camp after a night under the stars
April 26, 2017


Somehow, bombings are just like misfortune, you never know who will be hit. And no matter how hard you try, you can’t really protect yourself against it…

This is what a comrade told me yesterday evening, just before we split up to spend the night spread out in the fields, out of fear a bomb might be dropped above our heads… In this moment – lying there, watching the sky, monitoring this starlit night, so beautiful and yet so hostile, for the slightest light, the tiniest sound – one thinks of the people that have been living with the threat of bombings for decades: Palestinians, Afghans, Iraqis…
And I wonder how they manage to sleep peacefully even one single night in a year…
The atmosphere at the camp is a bit tense. Not only do we have to fear air strikes, but the Turkish army could also hit us with a ground attack. While we were getting ready for the training, a few of us asked for weapons… but there are not enough for everybody, and I’m one of those who didn’t get one.

Some time after the training, a comrade who had noticed my deception handed me something: a grenade. He quickly explained to me how to use it and concluded by saying: “it can help you for defense, just in case… or, as a last resort, if you don’t want them to get you. At least you have the choice.”

Holding an old AK47 in my hands
April 28, 2017


After the past bombing threats, life is trying to get back to normal at the camp… not that easy when you know that only about ten kilometers away from our base, near Tal-Abyad and Dérik, our comrades are facing the world’s eighth strongest army to keep this little piece of earth free.

I finally received a weapon to defend myself, an old Romanian AK47, probably twice as old as myself. Against helicopters or airplanes, I guess this will be as useful as an electoral program of Macron…
However, I fully understand that the Kurdish attach such great importance to the ideological dimension of the training before teaching how to handle a weapon. Because, as they say, if you put a weapon into the hands of a woman or man without ideological training, he or she will might one day turn into a bandit (and not the Robin Hood kind of bandit)…
Last night, we have again been overflown by a helicopter. Nice American material, only that this time, a Turkish pilot was sitting inside… Luckily, a beautiful thick hill was standing between us and his 30 mm canon (not to mention the thermal optical sights that can detect heat, therefore bodies).

This reminds me another element from our lessons: the power of a nation-state relies greatly on its air-force. I had never thought about it this way. Obviously I was aware of the military importance of air force, but I had never linked that to the political issue. I hope we will manage to resolve this problem one day, otherwise I’m afraid any revolutionary effort is doomed to fail, and by saying that I mean, it will be buried under a carpet of bombs topped with two or three high precision missiles…