FORCED TO FIGHT: This past weekend, Kurdish police forces loyal to the PYD (known as Asayish) began to round up hundreds of young men across Al-Hasakah province, including Kurds, Arabs, Syriac Christians, Armenians and Yazidis, for military training in accordance with a new mandatory service law.

A spokesman for the Democratic Union Party (PYD) justified the conscription campaign as necessary for upholding Al-Hasakah's security in an interview with Syria Direct.

“What has happened is not an arrest campaign—in the true sense of the phrase—but rather the implementation of laws that need to be enforced, especially in the state of chaos that Syria is living,” said Ibrahim Ibrahim.

“Everyone needs to defend and contribute to the defense of these regions,” Ibrahim said, referring to Al-Hasakah.

In this photo, four women in the Kurdish-majority city of Amuda protest the recent roundups, holding aloft signs that read “this is not the way to build a national army to protect Kurdistan,” and “we demand the release of all the young men from Amuda.”

The Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) passed a mandatory military service law in July stipulating the enlistment of one young man—between the ages of 18 and 30—per family into Kurdish military units for a period of six months.

A number of Syriac Christian, Arab and Kurdish political parties, as well as civil society and human rights organizations, have condemned the conscription campaign and demanded the immediate release of all young men held in captivity, reported international, Rome-based news agency ADNkronos international.

“With the spread of the news of arrests [by the Asayish], terror and anxiety have spread among the people, the towns, villages and cities of Al-Haskah province,” Suleiman Yusuf, a pro-opposition researcher specializing in minority affairs, told ADNkronos on Wednesday.

-October 15, 2014

-Photo courtesy of @zorro_yusef

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