Having covered the internal system of the People's Protection Units (YPG), we turn now to an old document on the internal system of the Woman's Protection Units (YPJ). This document, like the one on the internal system of the YPG, predates the formation of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). In my own collections of documents I have the version of the internal system of the YPJ that postdates the SDF. I hope to publish it with translation at a later point.
It should be noted that the YPJ is considered an autonomous part of the YPG and not an entirely separate institution. The YPJ is supposed to constitute at least 40% of the YPG based on the quota guidelines in the documents of the internal systems.
The YPJ internal system document outlines that there are general and regional commands for the YPJ. There is supposed to be a 'central base' for the YPJ composed of three centres for the cantons of al-Jazeera, Kobani and Afrin. Further, there is supposed to be a general military council for the YPJ composed of 31 members. The document also envisions regional military councils that coordinate with the 'general base' (i.e. the 'central base', as I understand it). Like the YPG internal system document, the YPJ internal system document describes three main types of forces in the YPJ:
- Professional Forces.
- Resistance Units.
- Local Forces.
We also see an outline of smaller unit formations, which are as follows (in descending order):
- Battalion (two squadrons).
- Squadron (two groups).
- Group (two contingents).
- Contingent (three to five fighters).
There is also more detail on the YPJ's academy system. Note further the same ideological trends that pervade the YPG's internal system document (e.g. the emphasis on the democratic and ecological society, as well as gender equality).
Below is the document translated in full with the original (note that the original seems to contain some grammatical and spelling errors).
The Internal System for the Woman's Protection Units (YPJ)
First: The name of the organisation: Woman's Protection Units and in its abbreviation: 'YPJ.'
Second: the symbol of the Woman's Protection Units: a red star on a green background and written on the surrounding of the story in the yellow colour the abbreviated name of the Woman's Protection Units.
The woman in the Woman's Protection Units fights on the basis of the paradigm of the gender liberated ecological democratic society and the line of legitimate defence against all the attacks to which our society and our people and the woman are exposed, as well as fighting against the system of state patriarchy that has embedded itself since 5000 years and usurped social values. The Woman's Protection Units constitute the essence to build a democratic Syria and a free Kurdistan and fight against the system of male-imposed oppression and its sexist system that cloaks itself in the guise of chauvinism of religion, ethnicity and knowledge. Indeed the Woman's Protection Units are the legitimate force for the woman and they bear in their shoulder the trust of the struggle for the woman's liberation.
Second Section: Organisation:
The Woman's Protection Units organise themselves in the form of the general command for the units and the command of the regions and in accordance with that, they are composed of: the central base for the units composed of three centres and they are the base of the area of al-Jazeera, Kobani and Afrin. The highest decision authority in the units is the congress. And in emergency cases the military council for the units convenes, while it assesses the activities of the units for an entire year and plans for the coming year.
The military council for the Woman's Protection Units is composed of 31 female fighters. The council meets every six months, just as the military council is considered the one responsible for the activities of the units.
Every region has elected within it its local military administration.
The military council tracks all the activities and implants its institutions and it is the one responsible for appointing and promoting the female fighters.
The councils of the areas coordinate with the general base for the units in all fields of their activities. And the number of members of these councils should be in accordance with the size and width of the area. This council holds its routine meeting every three months, and it is the one responsible for implementing the decisions of the general base for the units.
The Woman's Protection Units are composed of three types and they are:
The Professional Forces
The Resistance Units
The Local Forces
The means of work in the Woman's Protection Units should be in accordance with the system of democratic centralism and reports and commands and instructions. And with regards to appointment and promotion, the commands in the areas offer their suggestions to the general command for the protection units that is the one having the competency to certify them.
Every appointment done among the Woman's Protection Units should be in accordance with voting and commands, and with the knowledge of the general command there is distribution and assignment of the forces in the areas.
The general command for the Woman's Protection Units is composed of three to five members.
Membership in the Woman's Protection Units
Every female fighter in the Woman's Protection Units is at the same time a female fighter member in the People's Protection Units and accepts its programs and its internal system.
Every female fighter in the Woman's Protection Units joins on the basis of volunteering and protecting the national interests for the people and the Kurdish woman, and on the basis of the patriotic and ethical and political spirit, while aiming to build a liberated democratic society.
Membership: every female Syrian citizen who reaches the age of 18- but the social customs and traditions that continue until now that marry off the woman in an early age: this is what makes the units accept girls at an early age and protects them- and accepts the standards of both the Woman's and People's Protection Units, and then heads to the relevant authorities and receives the thought and military training and from there undertakes the oath. Once she has done these things, she can become a female fighter in the ranks of the Woman's Protection Units.
Removal of membership: the Woman's Protection Units adopt from the standards of membership in its internal system and for the People's Protection Units as a foundation for themselves.
The female member who has critical health problems and does not partake in the ethical standards, gender awareness and her love for her gender and works to impose relations that violate the ethics of our society amid our ranks and consciously harms the life and military discipline: despite all the stances and trainings that she works to acquire but she insists on backward overtures, she is to be kept apart from the ranks of the Woman's Protection Units and her membership is to be removed after the general command for the Woman's Protection Units certifies it.
The oath in the Woman's Protection Units:
On the basis of the paradigm of the democratic ecological society that is liberated in terms of gender, and for the sake of a democratic Syria and a free Kurdistan, I will protect the ethical and political society without discriminating between any religion, language, ethnicity, madhhab, gender or party. And I will stand against all the external and internal attacks and I will adopt the program of legitimate defence as a foundation for myself. I will establish my person in the crucible of the philosophy of the woman's freedom, and in accordance with the internal system of the Woman's Protection Units I will join the fight with courage, discipline, and with strong determination and determination, and without running behind my personal interests. And I will adopt from victory and with great force and will a foundation for myself to confront all the difficulties. And on this basis, I swear upon all my patriotic values and the path of the freedom of the woman and before the martyrs of Kurdistan and the Kurdish people and all my female and male companions in the struggle: I swear, I swear, I swear.
Fourth Section: Tasks and Jobs of the Female Fighting Members in the Woman's Protection Units
Implementation of the tasks and jobs suggested in the internal system for the People's Protection Units.
The fighter strives on all levels and on the foundation of awareness of legitimate defence against the various forms of attacks that are carried out against the woman and the backwardness in which the woman has been kept.
She should have a principled, free, humble and working hard- in the collective and honest sense- and embracing all the aesthetics in her heart towards her female companions, and she becomes a source of morale support for them.
On the basis of the path of the freedom of the woman, she should develop the professional forces of the woman and enabled in tactics of stages and she should be innovative in this field and she should be cooperating in this field.
She should have a high and powerful spirit of responsibility towards her responsibilities and she should work to implement the plans of the Woman's and People's Protection Units.
Fifth Section: Means of Organisation of the Woman's Protection Units
The Woman's Protection Units are the vanguard force in the People's Protection Units.
The woman works within the ranks of the protection of the people to organise herself in a virtually independent form in terms of self and in terms of the Woman's Protection Units.
The woman is organised within the ranks of the People's Protection Units on the gender quota system on the basis that the it should be no less than 40%.
The Woman's Protection Units are the force protecting every woman in west Kurdistan and Syria.
The Woman's Protection Units stand against all cases of rape of the woman and society- 'in the sexual, bodily, cultural, and ethical forms'- and they employ their right in the legitimate defence towards them.
Sixth Section: Leadership of the Academies
In the infrastructure of all bases the woman's defence academies are formed like the Academy of the Female Martyr Shilan for Defence.
The leaderships of the academies organise themselves on the basis of sub-branches that are connected with the bases of the Woman's Protection Units in the regions.
Work is done in the training courses of the academies on acquiring the standards and quality of awareness of freedom and free life and gender and patriotic consciousness with ideological and military awareness that builds the free ecological democratic mindset.
The training courses in the academies should be on military tactics, technical, ideological and military skills on the basis of the program of legitimate defence.
The Academy of the Female Martyr Shilan for Defence arises on training female fighters in the Woman's Protection Units on the primary military foundations and it is to open courses for beginners as well as courses for qualifying the female fighters to reach the professional forces of the Woman's Protection Units. At the same time the academy works to prepare the female fighters to reach the level of leadership and for this it is to open specialised courses.
The Academies of the Female Martyr Shilan are to branches for themselves in the areas according to need and that is in the name of the leadership of the Academies of the Female Martyr Shilan whereby it has its own pyramid structure.
Under the roof of the academies and so that the fighter in the Woman's Protection Units can reach a professional level, there are to be opened in the academies specialised courses for the female professionals concerned with training them on arts and skills of war and among them: heavy weapons, mines, assassination, near-sighting etc.
Seventh Section: The System of the Woman's Protection Units.
There is to be implementation of a three-pillar system in the Woman's Protection Units and in accordance with that the system of the Woman's Protection Units is to be composed of the contingent, group, squadron, battalion and base.
The contingent is composed of three to five fighters.
The group is composed of two contingents.
The squadron is composed of two groups.
The battalion is composed of two squadrons.
The Woman's Protection Units accept the particular clauses in the internal system for the People's Protection Units that concern the professional units, the resistance units, and the local forces. And in accordance with that:
Within the framework of the paradigm of the ecological democratic society that is liberated in terms of gender, they stand against all forms of attack against the woman and society and therefore they form the professional woman's units. These units are composed of the professional units within the Woman's Protection Units, and they include those who free themselves throughout 24 hours to work within the units and have received thought and military trainings and are professionals in the strategy of legitimate defence.
The particulars of the professional female fighters:
Defending the society and patriotic.
Courageous and active.
Innovative, sacrificing, hardworking and possessing strong initiative.
Conscious in terms of military tactics and technically qualified.
Loving her gender and protecting it.
Possessing essential discipline and having trained themselves.
Rejecting social sexism because they work with the mindset of the ecological democratic society that is liberated in terms of gender.
Open to criticism and self-criticism and adopting change and transformation as a foundation for themselves.
The Resistance Units:
Composed of cadres of the Woman's Protection Units present in the provinces and areas. Each cadre works on forming a unit or two units connected with her, so they should be on the lookout for the enemies' attacks and the Resistance Units work to prepare themselves in an appropriate way.
Those who adopt their places within these units, are to be chosen with care and vigilance in that they should be of those in whom there is complete confidence.
Every cadre in the Woman's Protection Units trains her unit well.
The principle of secrecy is to be adopted as a foundation in the units in that the female members of the units do not know each other in these units.
The female members in these units should have strong calibre and discipline.
The female members should have in all conditions and circumstances high capability for fighting and war.
The Local Forces:
The female members in the local units are patriotic and connected with their land. The local units are composed of the persons who are connected with their families and they have their personal life particular to them and it is not possible for them to work among the Woman's Protection Units throughout 24 hours but they undertake their national obligations and work to protect their areas.
They join the tasks of protection without neglecting the obligations of their families. Their joining should not be on the basis of personal and family interests.
Seventh Section: System of Command and Instructions
The system of democratic centralism is adopted as a basis, in that the centralism is done on the basis of command and instructions. As for how to implement its democratic aspect, that is done through meetings and discussion and all female members' joining the process of expressing the opinion with regards to the decision and suggestions.
System of reports
To know all the works that are done, so from bottom to top all the leadership ranks are informed, therefore the system of the reports is adopted as a basis. The female fighters in the Woman's Protection Units, after the instructions are implemented, assess the work they have undertaken and from there they inform the authority that gave them the instructions to undertake that work. Also within the time specified for it, every leadership works to give the assessment to the leadership higher than it, orally and in writing. And also within the time that has been specified, the necessary meetings should be held for it, with assessment of their work and writing of their reports. And the commands and sub-organisations that have not regularly sent their reports and held their assessments particular to their works, they are to be considered as though they have not implemented their missions and jobs placed on their shoulder.
There is the right for every female member to track her administration and criticise it. And if the deficiencies and mistakes are not overcome, she has the right to use the right to express the opinion in the meetings, and if the criticism is not overcome, she has the right to suggest what she wants. Every female member has the right to write a report every six months. Every female member in the Woman's Protection Units, whenever she considers that it is from the reasons of need to write her report, she has the right to that.
Every unit of the Woman's Protection Units can contract a meeting for it whenever the need calls for it. Every day the assessment of the cells is to be taken and every three days they are to be assessed and their results are to be put forward.
The Woman's Units are to assess their activities every week and every 15 days they are to hold their meeting. And at the same time they offer the result of their meeting in the form of a report to the leadership higher than they are.
The group is to hold its meeting every 15 days. As for the squadron, every month. And from there is the assessment of the results and the submission of their report to the leadership higher than they are.
Every base is to hold its meeting every month and from there it submits its report to the general command for the Woman's Protection Units.
In any military work discipline should be among the priorities. And discipline in all the military fields is on close connection with free will and democratic liberation. Discipline strengthens the fight and the operations and the joint work, therefore they bring victory with them. So the continuation of the struggle in a victorious sense is to be done through acceptance through all the principles and acquiring essential discipline. There is to be mobilisation in all places with self-discipline- that is, essential discipline- and in all continuations and circumstances there is to be self-training in terms of thought and body.
The principles that one must adhere to and in accordance with which one must mobilise are as follows:
Adhering to the principle of secrecy and camouflage.
No yielding against any attacks.
Not allowing the infliction of any harm to the values of the struggle and the people.
Protecting the acquired material values and using them according to need.
Mobilising by regular means and in all conditions and circumstances of the fight against the difficulties, and having high initiative.
Criticism and self-criticism
Criticism and self-criticism are considered very important so people can be free of their deficiencies, and reach the values of freedom and the democratic mindset. Also every female fighter in the Woman's Protection Units must develop criticism and self-criticism in all the meetings and that is through a spirit of high responsibility. Also there is to be use of the weapons of criticism and self-criticism as a means for renewal and progress and not for the purpose of vilification of people and belittling them. All the female fighters in the Woman's Protection Units are open to criticism and self-criticism. Also they are people possessing a progressive fight in the face of the capitalist system, and they stand in observation in the face of all types of backwardness and they wage war on them. And they are humble towards criticism and they establish themselves by the philosophy of freedom.
Fault and punishment
The Woman's Protection Units accept all that has come in the internal system for the People's Protection Units from clauses concerning fault and punishment.
The woman who does not adopt the woman's will as a foundation for herself and does not protect her quasi self-independence and distributes the woman's problems with the man, this is to be considered a fault she commits.
Our revolutionary regards and respects.
The command of central base for the Woman's Protection Units (YPJ).