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 [email protected]


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