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Aleppo rebels handed over
districts to Kurds: report

Opposition factions reached an agreement with the YPG to deliver Bustan al-Pasha, Al-Halak and other quarters bordering the Kurdish-controlled Sheikh Maqsoud district, according to a pro-opposition outlet.

A general view of Bustan al-Pasha, one of the areas allegedly handed over to Kurdish forces. (AFP/George Ourfalian)

BEIRUT - Amid the dramatic collapse of opposition lines in northeastern Aleppo, rebels groups purportedly handed over a number of districts to Kurdish forces in the divided city.

 

One of the most popular pro-rebel outlets in Aleppo reported early Monday afternoon that opposition factions reached an agreement with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to deliver the Baydin, Bustan al-Pasha, Ayn al-Tal, Al-Halak, Sheikh Fares and Zaytounat quarters, all of which border the Sheikh Maqsoud district, which is under the de facto control of autonomous Kurds.

 

“The agreement to hand over the neighborhoods… came to protect the lives of civilians and to avoid shelling by the regime and Russian forces,” a military source told the Aleppo Media Center.

 

A monitoring NGO tracking developments in war-torn Syria confirmed that YPG troops entered Bustan al-Pasha and Al-Halak, while saying that Baydin and other areas where under the control of regime forces.

 

However, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights did not provide context on the YPG entry into the two areas nor mention whether YPG fighters engaged in clashes with rebel forces.

 

The Kurdish advance on the edges of Sheikh Maqsoud comes as rebel lines in northeastern Aleppo have crumbled in the past 48-hours, with opposition forces losing control over at least 13 districts in their worst military setback yet in Syria’s second city.

 

The pro-opposition Enab Baladi gave credence to the Aleppo Media Center claim on the handover, which has not yet been reported by other local media outlets nor confirmed or denied by any relevant groups.

 

An “informed source” told Enab Baladi that the factions deployed in the areas reportedly handed over the Kurds, including the Sultan Mrad Division and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, withdrew southward in the city.

 

The YPG, for its part, issued a statement Monday that it entered the Bustan al-Pasha and Al-Halak neighborhoods bordering Sheikh Maqsoud to “open a humanitarian crossing” for civilians seeking to flee fighting.

 

According to the Kurdish fighting force, 6,000 civilians were brought to safety from the formerly rebel-held neighborhoods.

 

The YPG made no mention of how it seized the two districts or whether it engaged in any fighting with the insurgent factions previously based there.

 

Meanwhile, Al-Akhbar reported that the Kurdish forces “entered the battles” on Sunday after informing a Syrian regime operations room that they intended to secure the movement of civilians into Sheikh Maqsoud.

 

The pro-Hezbollah Lebanese newspaper did not go into details on the YPG entry into Bustan al-Pasha or the other neighborhoods in the area.

 

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

A general view of Bustan al-Pasha, one of the areas allegedly handed over to Kurdish forces. (AFP/George Ourfalian)

The agreement to hand over the neighborhoods… came to protect the lives of civilians and to avoid shelling by the regime and Russian forces.

  • dutchnational

    Moderate FSA factions have always been welcome within the SDF and Jaysh al Thuwwar, a main SDF faction, was based upon several moderate FSA factions. It is a pity that moderate FSA groups within the rebels did not grasp the opportunity of early 2014, when both were fighting IS, to cooperate wih the YPG and later SDF.

    November 28, 2016