Fighting With the Kurds in Raqqa, Polish SDF Volunteer “Archer”

“Archer” is the public nickname of a Polish volunteer currently fighting in the highly contested city of Raqqa with the Kurdish Peshmerga forces working right now to take it from the so called Islamic State. Countless U.S. and European volunteers have gone over to Syria to help out the Kurds in their struggle, some of them even giving their lives in the conflict. But from the amount of information that we receive from these volunteers, their direct involvement in the action, and their previous experience levels, this former Polish soldier appears to be very hard to beat when compared to many of the others since 2014 when American Jordan Matson became one of the first widely covered volunteers.

Unfortunately, not all of these volunteers proved to be useful to the Kurdish YPG, some of them making up military experience, others not actually accomplishing anything while in Syria, yet some more being used more as propaganda by the Kurds themselves. This is what makes this “Archer” that much more compelling is that he has so much material amassed around him with GoPro footage on his Youtube channel, an entire Facebook page dedicated to posting material about him and other Polish volunteers, even being written about in the Polish media.

We have this English language description of him on Euronews

Known only by his nom de guerre ‘Archer’, he is part of a 25-man paramilitary group called ‘Gniew Eufratu’, Polish for Euphrates Wrath, fighting the Islamic State in Syria alongside the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). The group is made of mostly ex-military and anti-terrorist members from around Europe and the US.

This is an interview he gave in Polish to a media organization-

This video shows GoPro footage from him during an urban battle. Notice his “Hide” site, and how he is firing through loopholes in the walls, keeping the distance from the outside of the building. He doesn’t have a spotter, putting him in the room alone for most of the video, something that is very risky when working in such conditions. The video also shows him working completely alone which is very perplexing, considering that having an anti-material rifle makes him an important asset to the SDF unit he is working with. At least he could have a radio to communicate where rounds are needed, but he doesn’t even have that.

In this particular video he records the brief events of a day clearing houses, to the tune of a music video!

While not fighting with the YPG, Archer has been with the SDF since March of this year. Through his material and videos, we get an excellent internal glimpse of what the sort of combat that the SDF is currently going through, but more importantly the weapons, equipment, and tactics that are currently being employed. When it comes to precision long guns, he has been seen in use are Zastava M93s (use among Kurds covered on TFB earlier), improvised “Zagros” rifles built around ZPU 14.5mm barrels (also covered on TFB), Romanian 7.62x54mmR PSLs, Soviet SVD Draganovs, even what appears to be an optic mounted FN FAL.



Miles

Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at miles@tfb.tv


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  • Brett baker

    Not to be a nationalist, but wouldn’t the M16a2 be a good precision platform?

    • hikerguy

      It would be, but I imagine that he uses equipment he has been trained with and knows, as well as can get parts and ammunition for.

    • Major Tom

      Can be, but there’s loads of things much better at it than one.

    • wicapiwakan

      In a vacuum, sure. In reality where supply and logistics have to be managed, not so much.

      Simple fact is, AKs and their parts and ammunition are going to be orders of magnitude more common in the region than are ARs and theirs.

      For a force like this that doesn’t have the backing of an organized military logistics effort behind them (nor the industrial might to make one worthwhile) you pretty much have to use what you can get. And in Syria, what you can get is AKs and other combloc weapons.

  • imachinegunstuff

    Can someone tell what that shotgun is?

    • Michael Boudreaux

      Yeah I thought that was interesting

    • PK

      Turkish something or other masquerading as a SPAS.

      • glenn cheney

        Lol, likely relieved from an unworthy possesser.

  • Fred Ray

    Wonder if he’s seen the American cartoon series “Archer.” Probably not…

  • glasspix

    The toothbrush… Now this is the one tool that really puts these heroes apart from the barbarians they are fighting.

  • Herr Wolf

    “Thunderstruck” -Fkk Yeah! Seriously- props to this guy for thwarting the Yinon Plan.

  • Raven

    What’s that .50BMG bolt rifle he’s got? The last picture is obviously something local-made, but the gun in the first picture looks a bit like a SAN 511/OM50 Nemesis.

  • Archer

    Thanks for the comments guys. We do actually use an AR platform, however not that often due to the fact that there is an omnipresent dust flying around, which becomes a major problem when it comes to M4’s and M16’s reliability. We use them for special ops and some CQB ops as we can mount a number of accessories on the rail system as well as they are much more compact, light and mobile. M16s are used at night (guard duty) as its our only option when it comes to mounting the thermalvision scope. M4 are not used with thermal as most of the time we need a 500m+ accuracy.

    Also, good eye with the shotgun, its indeed a turkish Spas copy. Moreover the WHOLE thing is made of plastic (excluding the bolt mechanism) which makes it super light.

    If you have any questions, please direct them via private message through our facebook page “Archer Grupa Zadaniowa Gniew Eufratu” as the internet connection is super poor and websites take forever to load 🙂

    Archer
    Task Force Wrath of Euphrates commander

    • Ευστάθιος Παλαιολόγος

      Keep up with the good job Archer
      Not trying to be a smartass, but from the GoPro angle it seems that your M-95 (is that it? The serbian .50cal) sometimes has it’s barrel resting on pillows or cement. This is not good for long range accuracy.
      Anyhow, you are there, doing the job, we back here can comment… 🙂
      Take care sir

    • French Balloon

      Most of the people on this blog like to argue that the AR-15 being less reliable than the AK is a complete myth because the AR-15 does a better job of sealing itself up and keeping foreign debris out. They also like to argue that the 5.56 round is more than adequate and that the ability to shoot beyond 200 meters is pretty much irrelevant because most combat engagements in WWII took place within 200 meters and most soldiers can’t shoot accurately.

      Once again, both the writers and commenters at TFB have proven themselves to be completely clueless.

      • iksnilol

        I dunno,M4s work fine past 200 meters. Git gud, scrub 😉

  • Brett

    Well, It’s official. New Man Crush.

  • Avid Fan

    Just curious, can someone ID the pistol? Sig or Sig copy. Beretta? Can’t tell.

    • David Sharpe

      It looks a little like a Beretta Cheetah, whether or not its a clone, I have no idea.

  • RussInOz

    Turkish propaganda. You are just an Erdogan troll.

    • glenn cheney

      That’s a fact. Anvil and hammer, Turkey the anvil, China backed Iran the hammer, in the middle, Kurks, norther Iraq, and the OIL AND GAS.

  • Ark

    I am deeply ambivalent about this entire practice of Westerners going to fight for the YPG. In my opinion, if someone leaves the US to sign up and fight in a foreign war zone, they shouldn’t be permitted back into the country. The YPG may be in the spotlight right now as “the good guys”, but that’s a matter of perspective. Just down the road, Kurdish fighters are laying roadside bombs to kill Turkish soldiers.

    The nicest thing I can say is that this is war tourism. The narrative of “I just HAD to do something” and “I just HAD to leave my comfortable Western life to go fight” is only a few degrees off from your standard ISIS radicalization and recruitment story. Swap a few labels and its the exact same sentiment.

    I sure would like to have a candid talk with the YPG officers whose job it is to wrangle the out-of-country volunteers.

    • Marcus D.

      Americans have long been going on foreign adventures. French Foreign Legion, the Spanish Civil War, fighting with the Israeli Defense Force back in 1948 immediately come to mind.

    • Peter

      It is only perception if you think ISIS and the ones who fight them are of equal moral value. Which is a very questionable stance indeed.

    • glenn cheney

      We can’t kill enough Turks. What’s the problem?

    • int19h

      > Just down the road, Kurdish fighters are laying roadside bombs to kill Turkish soldiers.

      And what are the Turkish soldiers doing there?

      With Kurds, the answer is simple: it’s their home. They live there.

      When armed people come to your home uninvited, you have full moral authority to kill them in self-defense, by whatever means you have available.

    • iksnilol

      I see no issue. When enemy does it, it’s an “IED”. When your guys do it, it’s a “tactical ambush”.

      For now, YPG are “our guys”.

  • Docduracoat

    Miles,
    Excellent article, thank you for informing me about Archer
    One final fine point
    The Peshmerga are the Iraqi Kurdish militia
    Currently supported by the U.S. and Germany
    There are no Peshmerga in Syria
    The Syrian Kurds are a completely separate organization
    The Iraqi Kurds are not helping the Syrian Kurds

  • glenn cheney

    Turks are THE PROBLEM, ERDOGAN will receive the justice he deserves.

  • glenn cheney

    Good work Miles. Obumer had our special forces, embedded with Kurds, remove green triangle insignia from their uniforms.
    WANT THE TRUTH ON THE KURDS, ASK AN AMERICAN SPEC.OPS WHAT THE REAL DEAL IS.
    CENT COM has a few walking around, back in the day, U.S. milspec at MacDill had issues with NATO Frogs.
    I know, I was there.

    • glenn cheney

      French burnt peanuts got hard to find, freedom fries were the norm.
      I won’t miss the dried figs.
      Write about new Turk weapons mfg. inside Russian lines, strsnge, very strange.

  • David Sharpe

    Come on!Where’s the scope cam footage?

  • int19h

    ISIS kills civilians who don’t follow the same religion as them.

    Kurds kill combatants of an armed force occupying their homeland. Police, military etc.

    When you sneak up behind enemy lines, and blow up his soldiers in their barracks, it’s not “terrorism”. It’s called outsmarting your enemy.

  • uisconfruzed

    Dis is goot comrad, let them see yuur ‘stash of death’.
    2nd vid @2:20 ‘target minaret’ where the belly of evil resides.

  • Mikial

    I worked DoD contracts in Iraq from 2004 to 2007, and much of that time I had Kurds and former Lebanese Christan militia members next to me on my gun trucks and in our compounds. We got shot at together and hit with IEDs together. They never wavered. When we employed them in the Baghdad and Southern Iraq area, we had to house them on our secure bases because the local Iraqi Arab population would try to attack them if they lived out on the local economy. They are the only Iraqis I would ever trust to be armed around me.