International Freedom Battalion

International Freedom Battalion
Tabûra Azadî ya Înternasyonal
Participant in the Rojava conflict and the Syrian Civil War

Banner used by the International Freedom Battalion
Active 10 June 2015–present
Ideology Revolutionary socialism
Proletarian internationalism
Groups MLKP,
United Freedom Forces,
Reconstrucción Comunista,
Devrimci Karargâh,
Bob Crow Brigade
Area of operations Rojava, Syria
Allies People's Protection Units,
Women's Protection Units
Opponents  Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Battles and wars

Syrian Civil War

The International Freedom Battalion (Turkish: Enternasyonalist Özgürlük Taburu, Kurdish: Tabûra Azadî ya Înternasyonal, Arabic: تابور الحرية العالمي), commonly abbreviated as IFB or EÖT, is an armed group consisting of leftist foreign fighters fighting alongside the People's Protection Units in the Syrian Civil War in support of the Rojava Revolution and against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.[1][2] The formation of the International Freedom Battalion was announced on 10 June 2015 in Serê Kaniyê (Ras al-Ayn).[3] The Marxist–Leninist Communist Party (Turkey) had been the main force behind the establishment of the group.[4] Inspiration for the group came from the International Brigades of the Spanish Civil War. The political ideologies among many of the fighters include Marxism–Leninism, Hoxhaism, Maoism, and anarchism.


The International Freedom Battalion is made up of fighters from left-wing armed groups (as well as individuals not part of any other groups) most of whom had been fighting with the YPG before the creation of the International Freedom Battalion. These groups include:

Marksist-Leninist Komünist Partisi

Marxist–Leninist Communist Party (Turkish: Marksist-Leninist Komünist Partisi, abbreviated as MLKP) is an underground Hoxhaist communist party from Turkey. MLKP fighters had been reportedly been sent to Syria to fight with the People's Protection Units since 2012. MLKP fighters have also joined Kurdistan Workers' Party fighting in Northern Iraq in defence of the Yezidi minority in Sinjar.[5] In April 2015, it was announced that MLKP founded a permanent military training centre in the PKK-controlled areas of the Iraqi Kurdistan.[6] In March 2015 a 19-year-old German woman, Ivana Hoffmann, was killed whilst fighting ISIL during the battle of Tell Tamer making her the third western fighter, as well as the first female western fighter, to die while fighting alongside the YPG, her death was reported by many mainstream news sources.[7][8] MLKP's female organisation, Komünist Kadın Örgütü, is also involved in fighting.[9] MLKP was heavily involved in forming the International Freedom Battalion and has the largest amount of fighters in the group.


Liberation Army of the Workers and Peasants of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye İşci ve Köylü Kurtuluş Ordusu, abbreviated as TİKKO) is the armed wing of the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist–Leninist (Turkish: Türkiye Komünist Partisi/Marksist-Leninist, abbreviated as TKP/ML), a Maoist insurgent organisation in Turkey. On March 25, 2016, the TKP/ML TİKKO headquarters in Serêkaniyê were targeted by a motorcycle bomb causing slight injuries to 2 members and damage to the headquarters, 2 suspects were detained by Asayiş.[10][11]

Birleşik Özgürlük Güçleri

Main article: United Freedom Forces

The United Freedom Forces (Turkish: Birleşik Özgürlük Güçleri, or BÖG), inspired by the International Brigades of the Spanish Civil War, were founded in December 2014 in the town of Kobanê as an organization of foreign leftist fighters of both revolutionary socialist and anarchist convictions. However groups such as the predominant MLKP didn't join,[12] but eventually BÖG and those other groups participated in the formation of the International Freedom Battalion. BÖG also has a female branch named Kadın Özgürlük Gücü in Turkish.[13] Member groups of BÖG include:

Reconstrucción Comunista

Communist Reconstruction (Spanish: Reconstrucción Comunista, abbreviated as RC) is a Marxist-Leninist group from Spain. The group carries a variant of the Flag of the Second Spanish Republic. RC has strong ties to the MLKP and members fight as part of MLKP formations, even fighting in Sinjar. Two members of the group were arrested by police after their return to Spain and were accused of participating in an armed conflict outside of Spain without authorization from the state, as well as putting national interests at risk and joining groups fighting against ISIL that are considered terrorist organizations by international organizations.[14] In January 2016, 9 individuals were arrested in Spain, 8 Spanish citizens and 1 from Turkey.[15] The Spanish Interior Ministry said in a statement that "The detained, in collaboration with other individuals residing in various European countries, were providing the necessary infrastructure for displaced people to travel abroad and to finally integrate in the ranks of the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) or one of the armed wings of the organization" and that the majority of the arrested belong to the group 'Communist Reconstruction'.[16]

Türkiye Komünist Emek Partisi/Leninist

Communist Labour Party of Turkey/Leninist (Turkish: Türkiye Komünist Emek Partisi/Leninist, abbreviated as TKEP/L) is an illegal Marxist-Leninist party in Turkey. The group have set up their own headquarters in Rojava.[17]

Devrimci Karargâh

Revolutionary Headquarters (Turkish: Devrimci Karargâh, abbreviated as DK) is a Marxist–Leninist group from Turkey. A battalion was created by DK and MLSPB-DC (part of United Freedom Forces) named after Alper Çakas, an MLSPB-DC fighter killed while fighting in Rojava.[18]

Revolutionary Union for Internationalist Solidarity

Revolutionary Union for Internationalist Solidarity (Greek: Επαναστατικός Σύνδεσμος Διεθνιστικής Αλληλεγγύης, abbreviated as ΕΣΔΑ) is a libertarian communist group from Greece.[19]

Bob Crow Brigade

Flag of the Bob Crow Brigade.

The Bob Crow Brigade (abbreviated as BCB) is a group of fighters from the United Kingdom and Ireland[20] named after Bob Crow, an English trade union leader and self-described "communist/socialist", who had died of a heart attack in March 2014. The group had expressed solidarity with striking rail workers in the UK.[21][22] Steve Hedley, senior assistant general secretary of the RMT, said: "Bob would have been honoured that young people from Britain would fight the forces of evil in his name. A great admirer of the international brigades that fought in Spain, Crow would of course have drawn the parallels with the new international brigades fighting clerical fascism and defending Yazhidi, Muslim and Christian workers from slavery and persecution."[23] The group criticized the Labour Party leadership candidate, Owen Smith, for proposing negotiations with ISIL.[24] After Turkey and its allied rebel groups invaded parts of northern Syria and clashed with the Syrian Democratic Forces, Turkish officials stated that they will treat British and other foreign volunteers fighting alongside the YPG as terrorists.[25][26] On 2 September, the Bob Crow Brigade relocated from the Raqqah front to Manbij and stated "When we came to defend the revolution we meant from all enemies, big or small".[27] On 7 September 2016, the Bob Crow Brigade sent a message of solidarity to the women of Ireland fighting to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland on the 33rd anniversary of its approval by referendum, as well as striking Irish bus workers the following day.[28][29]

Henri Krasucki Brigade

The Henri Krasucki Brigade (French: Brigade Henri Krasucki) is a group of fighters from France. Inspired by their English-speaking counterparts of the Bob Crow Brigade they named themselves after the French trade-unionist Henri Krasucki. The group expressed solidarity with the CGT union and the Air France workers on trial for the "shirt-ripping case" over an incident on October 5, 2015, which arose from a dispute over the aviation giant's plans to cut 2,900 jobs.[30]

See also


  1. "Rojava'da ilk Enternasyonalist Özgürlük Taburu kuruldu". YPG News (in Turkish). 10 June 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  2. "International Freedom Battalion: women of the world, defend the Rojava revolution–a report from JINHA". signalfire. 16 June 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  3. "The First Internationalist Freedom Battalion Established in Rojava". Isyandan. 12 June 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  4. "New Leftist 'Freedom Brigade' to Join Kurdish Forces in Rojava". TeleSUR. 13 June 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  5. "MLKP fighters also in Sinjar". Kurdish info. 23 August 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  6. "MLKP komutanı Can: 'Gerilla tarzı yaşam bizim geleceğimizdir'". Etkin Haber Ajansı (in Turkish). 27 April 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  7. "German woman fighting ISIL killed in Syria". Al Jazeera. 9 March 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  8. "Funeral for German woman Ivana Hoffmann killed fighting IS". BBC News Online. 15 March 2015. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  9. "MLKP Rojava/KKÖ: Halkımızın acıları acımızdır". Etkin Haber Ajansı (in Turkish). 1 June 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  10. "Islamic State bomb attack against Serêkaniyê HQ of TKP/ML-TIKKO". Signalfire. 28 March 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  11. "TKP-ML TİKKO'ya yönelik bombalı saldırı". Hawar Haber Ajansı (in Turkish). 26 March 2016. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  12. "Enternasyonal cepheye çağrı". Özgür Gündem (in Turkish). 8 December 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  13. "Kadın Özgürlük Gücü kuruldu". Hawar Haber Ajansı (in Turkish). August 14, 2015. Retrieved October 15, 2015.
  14. Rodríguez, Jorge A. (7 July 2015). "Two Spaniards arrested on return from fighting ISIS in Syria". El País. Translated by Hunter, Simon. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  15. "Spanish police arrest 9 for suspected PKK links". Rudaw. 27 January 2016. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  16. "Police Arrest Eight Spaniards And One Turk For Recruiting Fighters For PKK-KCK". The Spain Report. 27 January 2016. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  17. "TKEP-L Rojava'da merkez açtı". Hawar Haber Ajansı (in Turkish). 22 January 2016. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  18. "Alper Çakas Enternasyonalist Özgürlük Taburu kuruldu". Hawar Haber Ajansı (in Turkish). 29 October 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  19. "The International Freedom Battalion of Rojava and participation from greece". Independent Media Center. 7 July 2015. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  20. MacDonald, Alex (16 August 2016). "Bob Crow brigade '30 miles' from IS-stronghold of Raqqa in Syria". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  21. MacDonald, Alex (10 August 2016). "'Bob Crow Brigade' in Syria solidarity with striking London Tube workers". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  22. Verkaik, Robert (10 August 2016). "British in Syria rename themselves Bob Crow Brigade and break off from fighting ISIS". Mail Online. Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  23. Pullman, Beth (16 August 2016). "Rojava International Brigaders Honour The Legendary Bob Crow". Morning Star. People's Press Printing Society. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  24. Verkaik, Robert (26 August 2016). "'Bob Crow Brigade' attack Labour's Owen Smith over ISIS talks comment". Mail Online. Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  25. Sharma, Suraj; MacDonald, Alex (1 September 2016). "British volunteers in Syrian Kurd forces are 'terrorists', Turkey says". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  26. Ensor, Josie (1 September 2016). "Turkey warns: we will treat Britons fighting with Kurds as terrorists". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  27. Baker, Graeme (2 September 2016). "British YPG fighters 'head to Manbij to face Turkish forces'". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  28. Anderson, Claire (7 September 2016). "Ní Saoirse go Saoirse na mBan: There is no freedom until the freedom of women". Landmark Digital Ltd. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  29. Ó Conghaile, Tomaí (8 September 2016). "Comharthaí Gaeilge á n-ardú ag trodaithe sa Chordastáin". Nós (in Irish). Rua Media. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  30. Sekkai, Kahina (28 September 2016). "Syrie : le soutien de la brigade Henri Krasucki aux salariés d'Air France". Paris Match (in French). Lagardère Digital France. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
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