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Qamishli, Syria− The border crossing of Semalka near the Syrian borders with the Iraqi Kurdistan will be reopened after four months of closing, sources said.
Semalka, located in the suburbs of the Kurdish city of Derik, northeast Syria, was the main gate for Syrian Kurds to the Kurdistan Region in Iraq. More than 230,000 refugees used the crossing to enter Iraqi Kurdistan looking for shelter. The same crossing was used for receiving humanitarian aid from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and some NGOs. However, Semalka crossing was closed about four months ago after rifts between the KRG and Syrian Kurdish forces of the Popular Protection Units (YPG)−armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD)− which used to control the crossing at the Syrian side.
Sources told ARA News that the crossing will be reopened next month, on Feb.2.
An agreement was reached between the Syrian Kurdish political forces in Erbil, capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan, last month after negotiations with the KRG regarding the importance of reopening Semalka crossing. With the blessing of the KRG, the agreement was signed by the Kurdish National Council in Syria (KNC) and the People’s Council of Western Kurdistan −another Syrian body.
Reopening Semalka crossing will mainly facilitate entry of basic humanitarian aid and medical supplies to the Kurdish areas in Syria.
Saeed Mustafa Abdulaziz, member of a recently established observing committee concerned with Semalka crossing, said that the agreement between both Syrian Kurdish councils encouraged the Kurdistan Regional Government to take the decision of reopening the crossing.
Abdulaziz emphasized that Semalka will not be reopened to encourage people to cross the borders to the Iraqi Kurdistan.
“We do not want our areas evacuated of the people. Semalka crossing will be reopened only for the sake of receiving necessary humanitarian aid and provide people in Syrian Kurdish areas with basic supplies,” Abdulaziz said.
Reporting by: Ahmad Shiwesh. Contribution: Egid Ibrahim
Source: ARA News
(Editing by: Adib Abdulmajid)