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Duhok, Iraqi Kurdistanــ On Thursday, members of the al-Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) stormed the village of Tel Maruf near Qamishli city, northeatsern Syria. The ISIL group intimidated Tel Maruf villagers and damaged a number of buildings, local sources reported. The groups declared its control over the village.
Members of the ISIL bombed the shrine of the prominent Kurdih sheikh Mashuq Khaznawi in Tel Maruf, and burned the village’s mosque on Thursday evening, sources told ARA News.
Mohammed Abdul Quddus, a resident based in Sihil town near Tel Maruf, told ARA News most of the area’s residents escaped and headed towards other relatively safe areas.
The Media Center of the Kurdish forces of the Popular Protection Units (YPG) −which is controls several cities and town in Syria’s northeast− issued a statement vowing the ISIL, threatening the group that its forces (YPG) will soon launch a counterattack in response to Thursday’s crackdown on Tel Maruf.
“Tel Maruf will be a graveyard for the invaders and barbarians (in reference to ISIL). The security of our people and our land is a red-line,” said the YPG −military arm of the Democratic Union Party (PYD).
Thursday’s developments were preceded by the announcement of the YPG’s General Command of suspending their military operations and taking a position of defence.
The YPG forces have taken over the town of Tel Birak near Qamishli earlier this week. The ISIL crackdown on Tel Maruf is believed to be a response by ISIL after forced withdrawal from Tel Birak.
The town of Tel Maruf was for decades a center for the followers of the Naqshbandi way of worship, which contain a hospice, a major mosque, a religious school, and a place of pilgrimage for the Sheiks and followers of the way. In June 2005, Sheikh Mohammad Mashuq Khaznawi (one of the most influential Kurdish figures in the Kurdish community in Syria, based in Tel Maruf) was assassinated. His family accused the Syrian regime to stand behind his assassination.
Reporting by: Ehmed Herbi
Source: ARA News