The International Freedom Battalion (IFB) is one of the more unusual armed groups participating in the Syrian civil war. Primarily composed of left-wing foreign volunteers the minor force has aligned itself with the US-backed People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish-led body seeking to establish some form of regional autonomy in the north-east of Syria. The illegal Marxist–Leninist Communist Party of Turkey is understood to be the IFB’s principle backer and most of its members are presumed to be left-leaning Turkish Kurds and Turks, sprinkled with similar-minded folk from around the Middle East and Europe. The so-called Bob Crow Brigade (BCB), titled after a well-known UK trade union leader of the same name, is a somewhat independent unit of the IFB with a largely British and Irish membership. At least in theory. Like its parent body the BCB is subject to considerable speculation and precious few facts, though it probably numbers less than two dozen individuals. Aside from soliciting support from the outside world through social media campaigns and sympathetic press reports its exact role is debatable.
Recently the Bob Crow Brigade posted an image to its Twitter account supporting the repeal of the anti-choice 8th amendment of Bunreacht na hÉireann. The message stated “International Freedom Battalion in solidarity with our sisters in Ireland fighting to #RepealThe8th” and showed a picture of two female fighters behind a sign reading in Irish script “Ní Saoirse go Saoirse na mBan – Repeal the 8th“. The former phrase is of course a well-known republican and feminist slogan from the military struggles on this island nation. Interesting support indeed!