The roles of underground operations, guerrilla, sabotage and classic special operations units are groups who act in frustration to opposing forces. In this case the bullet meets the bone in Syria as Kurdish Forces are successfully deploying unconventional warfare tactics against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Kurdish forces have developed and deployed covert guerrilla warfighters against ISIS. Such as the recently reported 45 ISIS fighters ‘die after eating poisoned Ramadan meal in Iraq’.

Through the employment of members from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, (Male Guerrilla Wing) or YPG and the Women’s Protection Units, (Female Guerrilla Wing) the YPJ; structurally known as the armed wings of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and Kurdish National Council (KNC). The PYD is also affiliated with the Kurdistan’s Workers Party or PKK, a group classified as terrorists by the US, the EU and Turkey, among others.

These Kurdish forces have homegrown operational intelligence capacities and internal organization to align with the fast and loose mountain warfare stylings of the YPG/YPJ’s predecessors and primary trainers, the PKK. Using the PKK’s methodologies as a foundation along with some difficult lessons learned in the field, the YPG/YPJ has met with many unique mission challenges and have since adapted an asymmetrical warfare construct which is agreeable to their organizational model. Leading to the creation of the Secret Resistance Units (Yekîneyên Berxwedanê Yên Veşartî) or better known to Kurdish Forces as Tabor (pronounced, Ta-boor).

Tabor was developed after the Kurds cut their teeth in battle while taking portions of the region known as Rojava in Northern Syria and Iraq. There, Kurdish forces seized the ISIS-controlled town Tell Hamis in 2014; only to lose it a few weeks later. Kurdish forces at the time of the attack were using one and two man, lightly trained scout patrols for the bulk of their intelligence gathering needs. Yet, that all swiftly changed when Kurdish forces discovered that reliance on simple observations of the enemy positions was not enough.