Former US Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is producing a television drama in support of the Kurdish militias in Syria. Clinton is being joined in the project by her daughter Chelsea.
According to Hollywood Reporter magazine, the Clintons will be producing the drama in partnership with HiddenLight Productions. It will be based on the book The Daughters of Kobani: A Story of Rebellion, Courage, and Justice by the American author and journalist Gayle Tzemach Lemmon.
In the book, which is being published next month, Lemmon recounts the stories of women in the Kurdish militias in north-east Syria who fought against the terror group Daesh after its emergence in 2014. “The Daughters of Kobani… is an extraordinary account of brave, defiant women fighting for justice and equality,” Clinton told the magazine.
The Kurdish militias in Syria such as the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) enjoy popularity in the West, particularly for their use of women soldiers and their veneer of democratic principles. That is the image that has gained them much Western sympathy over the years, and American support militarily in the fight against Daesh and as a possible counterweight to Turkish forces in the region.
READ: Assessing the threat that Syria’s Kurds pose to Turkey and the US
European governments also more or less see them as partners for cooperation in Syria, and regard their administration in the country’s north-east as legitimate. A stain on the Kurdish militias’ aims for international legitimacy, however, has been their poor human rights record that remains largely overlooked.
The Kurdish groups’ human rights violations include the forced recruitment of child soldiers, abductions, torture, the crackdown on freedom of speech and the persecution of elements of the Arab population within the areas under their control. This month, the YPG was also reported to have fired on Syrian children as the group was attempting to forcefully recruit them.
There is also concern over the YPG’s connections to the internationally-designated terror group the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The YPG is said to be the Syrian branch of the PKK.
That connection has led to action being taken against former foreign fighters with the YPG, even by the US and Europe. US intelligence, for example, arrested former YPG militant Daniel Baker earlier this month for allegedly attempting to commit a terror attack and armed conflict against pro-Trump supporters at the Capitol Building. The British authorities also arrested a fighter from the militia in 2018.
READ: Ex-US general criticises America’s support for YPG Kurds