Recent comments from SOCOM Commander, General Thomas about asking the YPG to rebrand itself demonstrates a lack of cultural awareness and “ground truth” as the YPG itself was a re-brand from the PKK, a very intentional one at the beginning of the war.  Having the YPG fold itself up into a new acronym called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is a silly turn of the phrase that does nothing to convince enemies or allies of anything.  Turkey certainly is not fooled by such a re-branding and anyone who has spent time on the ground in Syria knows that the YPG and YPJ are the real forces behind SDF.  I would speculate that these re-branding efforts must mean something to people in Washington and London, because they have little impact on the battlefield. -Jack Murphy

Speaking on a panel at the Aspen Security Forum, Gen. Raymond Thomas, the commander of  US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), said the U.S. asked the People’s Protection Unit, or YPG, to re-brand because of its alleged linkages to the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), an internationally designated terrorist group.

“We literally replied back to them and said you got to change your brand,” Thomas said.

The SOCOM commander was responding to questions from Catherine Herridge, chief intelligence correspondent for Fox News, about how the U.S. military finds partner forces in Iraq and Syria.