... for openness and credibility....

How to Survive as an Armed Non-state Actor? An Assessment of the  Syrian Democratic Union Party

Fatih Oğuzhan İpek


This article examines the case of the Syrian Democratic Union Party (Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat or PYD) to explain the survival strategies of the non-state armed actor (NSAA). Although the Middle Eastern State System remarkably remained stable after the end of Mandates, the legitimacy of states has been eroded by a combination of colonial legacy, neo-patrimonialism, and authoritarianism, laying the seeds for the rise of non-state challengers to states. At the beginning of the Syrian uprising, the PYD did not fight against the Syrian regime but established its autonomy in northern Syria by taking advantage of the chaos. Using the process-tracing method, the article explains the survival of the PYD until the territorial defeat of the so-called Islamic State and offers parameters of the territorial logic, its organizational structuring, and relations with the states to explain the survival strategies of the PYD. Finally, the study concludes that while the territorial and organizational structuring logics of the NSAA shape its strategies, its complex relationship with states determines its survival.

For the text please see: Web Link

pp. 341–361