Kurds clash with regime
troops in Hasakeh

The sounds of explosions and heavy gunfire were heard ringing out in the provincial capital.

Hasakeh fighting. (image via hawarnews.com)

BEIRUT – Fighting has erupted between Kurdish security forces and pro-regime troops in the city of Hasakeh, where both sides maintain an uneasy power-sharing agreement.


The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Wednesday morning that “heavy gunfire was heard” in the provincial capital as Kurdish Asayesh internal security members battled regime troops and loyalist militias.


Local activists told the NGO tracking developments in war-torn Syria that “explosions were heard reverberating in the city” amid confirmed reports of injuries among the ranks of both sides. 


Smoke rises over Hasakeh. (YouTube/Qasioun News)


Meanwhile, the ANHA news agency, which is close to Syria's Kurdish fighting forces, reported that “Syrian regime troops attacked an Asayesh checkpoint and civilians in Qamishli Street in the Hasakeh city center at 9:00 a.m.”


One civilian was “shot in the chest” amid the clashes, the outlet added, without mentioning any other casualties.


Wednesday's clashes in Hasakeh. (YouTube/ANHA) 


An Asayesh official told the outlet that “our forces… were able to repel the attack, and brought the situation under control.”


He added that initial reports indicate that five pro-regime fighters were killed in the fighting, while dozens others were injured.


A pro-Kurdish outlet, for its part, claimed that “Syrian government forces tried to interfere in the process of high school final exams taking place in the Kurdish-controlled areas of the city.”


Pro-regime outlets have yet to report on the clashes, while Syria’s state SANA news agency has remained mum on the incident.


Syrian regime forces only maintain control over central areas of the provincial capital after Kurds swept back a failed ISIS offensive in July 2015 and took quarters of the city formerly under regime control.


Intermittent bouts of violence have erupted between Kurds and pro-regime forces in Hasakeh, however none of them have been as violent as the late April battles in nearby Qamishli in what was the worst fighting between the two sides since the beginning of the Syrian war.


The Syrian army maintains control over Qamishli International Airport—allowing it to resupply its forces there—as well as other areas south of the city. In the city itself, pro-regime forces and Kurds have maintained a tenuous power-sharing agreement since 2012.


Despite the modus vivendi in Qamishli, intermittent clashes have erupted in the past year between Kurds and the Assyrian Gozarto Protection Force as well as National Defense Force militiamen.


While previous firefights were quickly contained, the latest round of fighting that began on April 20 escalated and left at least 20 pro-Assad militiamen, 5 Kurdish security personnel and a number of civilians dead.  


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

Kurdish Asayesh troops engaged in fighting in Hasakeh. (image via hawarnews.com)

Local activists told the NGO tracking developments in war-torn Syria that “explosions were heard reverberating in the city” amid confirmed reports of injuries among the ranks of both sides.

  • dutchnational

    The SDF has to start considering what to do about both cities. In my opinion they should, for the time being, let Qamishli be and take over the city center of Hasakah and, also for the time being, let the military base be. There are two other things the SDF might pursue. 1. Getting the two christian Syriac militia to unify under the SDF aegis. 2. Make a deal with Assad on DeirezZor and Hasakah. Assad hands over the Hasakah base including all its weapons, the SDF drives on from Marqadah to DeirezZor and breaks the siege of DEZ and the military of Hasakah base and all of their NDF buddies will, with their personal weapons, be transported to DEZ. This might make both parties somewhat happy.

    May 18, 2016