Albin Szakola

Kurds encircle Syria regime
forces in Qamishli

Kurdish internal security personnel arrested 80 pro-Assad fighters as tensions mount in the city.

Qamishli. (image via albaath.news.sy)

BEIRUT – Tensions have mounted in Syria’s Qamishli after Kurdish security forces surrounded regime positions in the northeastern city, where the government maintains one of its last armed bastions in the de-facto autonomous Kurdish Cezire canton.


An outlet affiliated with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) reported Wednesday morning that Kurdish internal security (Asayesh) forces cordoned off a regime security zone in the border city and targeted their headquarters with four rocket-propelled grenade rounds.



Kurdish forces cut off the airport road leading to pro-regime positions in Qamishli. (image via Qasioun News)


ANHA news added in a later report that Asayesh personnel conducted a wide-scale arrest campaign, detaining 80 Syrian regime security members while seizing seven of their vehicles.


"Asayseh forces continue to remain deployed throughout the streets of the city," the report also said.


According to the pro-YPG outlet, the confrontational move by the Asayesh came after “the provocations of Syrian regime forces and their practices against the civilians of Qamishli [including] detonating stun grenades to intimidate them.”


ANHA further claimed that the pro-regime National Defense Force militia forces in Qamishli were plotting to “create sedition” in the city by attempting to arrest residents who wanted to commemorate the 1988 chemical attack in Iraq’s Halabja that left thousands of Kurds dead. 


The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights tracking developments in the war torn country confirmed the RPG attack on regime forces, reporting that explosions heard throughout Qamishli resulted from Kurdish security forces targeted regime centers in the center of the city.


The monitoring NGO also confirmed that Asayesh forces arrested "over 60" pro-regime troops, but added that it had not received any information on casualties from the morning clashes, which come on the heels of fighting Sunday between the Asayesh and regime forces in the provincial capital Hasakeh 75 kilometers to the south.


Meanwhile, sources in the Asayesh said that the clashes erupted after pro-regime force members arrested a number of Kurdish security force personnel in the Hara al-Tey and Hay al-Ziboun areas in the south of the city, both of which are under government control.


“Asayesh arrested a number of regime force members at the intersection of Al-Wahda and Al-Aam streets, where they targeted the regime security [zone] with RPGs,” the sources told the Syrian activist 7al.me outlet.


The fighting comes the same day as a collection of parties in the Kurdish-dominated regions of Syria met for a landmark assembly to discuss a new federal ruling system for the north of the country.  


Wednesday’s meeting is set to announce the formation of the Federal Democratic System of Rojava-North Syria, which will replace the Democratic Self-Rule Administration of Rojava.


In January 2014, Kurdish authorities declared the formation of three self-ruled cantons (Cezire, Afrin and Kobane) under the Self-Rule Administration, which has been dominated by the Democratic Union party (PYD) and its People's Protection Units (YPG) militia forces.


The political reorganization was not recognized by the Syrian regime; however, it has become a de-facto reality, especially since pro-government forces withdrew from most Kurdish-populated regions in 2012, with the exception of Qamishli and Hasakeh city. 


NOW’s English news desk editor Albin Szakola (@AlbinSzakola) wrote this report. Amin Nasr translated Arabic-language source material.

Asayesh security forces opened fire on government positions in Qamishli. (image via albaath.news.sy)

Asayesh arrested a number of regime force members at the intersection of Al-Wahda and Al-Aam streets, where they targeted the regime security [zone] with RPGs.