On May 20, the Syrian city of Manbij, in northern Aleppo, witnessed a general strike, which was organized by locals to protest the forcible recruitment into the ranks of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Syrian pro-opposition news outlet Baladi News reported.
Baladi News said that a vast majority of the Manbij locals participated in the strike and closed their shops which led to high tensions with the SDF security forces. The SDF’s security forces mainly consist of Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
In response to the strike, YPG fighters opened fire at some closed shops and broke into many others in the districts of al-Saraya and Dwairat al-Hadrah, according to Baladi News.
Syrian opposition activists said that the SDF had forcibly recruited dozens of locals of Manbij, including minors, over the last few months. The US-backed force is even planning now to recruit more civilians not only from Manbij but also from Raqqa governorate.
According to local observers, these policies will only lead to more tensions between the Kurds and the Arabs, as most of these decisions were made by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which controls the political wing of the SDF.