Kurdish fighters of the YPG at the top of Mount Abdulaziz after expelling ISIS militants from the area, Wednesday, May 20, 2015. Photo: ARA News
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HASAKAH – Dozens of families returned to their villages near Mount Abdulaziz in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah, after one year of forced displacement at the hands of ISIS militants.
Over 100 displaced families returned home under the protection of Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), local sources and eyewitnesses confirmed on Monday.
The YPG –leading member of the western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)– had regained control of Mount Abdulaziz in northeastern Syria after fierce clashes with ISIS militants last May. Over the past few months, the YPG and allied units from the SDF have been dismantling hundreds of land-mines and explosives that had been left by ISIS jihadis in villages and towns near the mountain.
“We have dismantled more than 250 land-mines and explosives that were planted by Daesh terrorists to prevent civilians from returning to their villages in the vicinity of Mount Abdulaziz,” YPG officer Redwan Muhammad told ARA News, using an acronym for ISIS.
“After securing the whole area, we have called on the displaced families to return home,” the Kurdish official said. “Nearly 110 families have returned to their villages and towns in Hasakah province in the past three days.”
Redwan added that the Kurdish leadership has deployed dozens of forces and installed a number of security checkpoints across the area in a bid to prevent any infiltrations by ISIS militants.
“We reassure the people that our forces will do everything to protect them against Daesh (ISIS) terrorists,” he stressed.
Over 5500 ISIS militants killed in clashes with Syrian Kurds in one year
At least 5800 militant fighters of the Islamic State (ISIS) have been killed in clashes with the Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria during 2015.
“A total of 5875 terrorists of ISIS were killed in clashes with our forces during the year 2015,” the YPG’s leadership said in a statement.
“Our units have conducted 453 military operations against the terror group; 392 clashes took place during these operations. The documented death toll in the ranks of ISIS reached 5875 terrorists, and we have taken 38 terrorists as hostages,” the Kurdish leadership said in its annual report.
It added that the YPG units, in cooperation with the female fighters of the YPJ, have seized 204 ISIS military vehicles, 24 tanks, 26 armored vehicles and detonated 58 car bombs, beside seizing a large deal of ammunition. On the other hand, 680 Kurdish fighters lost their lives while fighting ISIS over the year 2015.
In cooperation with allied armed forces and with the support of the U.S.-led coalition’s air force, the Kurdish units have regained control of strategic towns and cities from ISIS’s fist in northern Syrian last year, including Kobane, Tel Abyad, Ain Issa, Tel Temir, Hasakah, Tel Hamis, Tel Brak, Suluk, Dahmaa, Mount Abdulaziz, army bases of ’93’ and Melabiyah, beside dozens of villages.
The YPG leadership notified that these records do not include the gains of their joint operations in the ranks of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
According to the Kurdish leadership, the Turkish army has targeted 22 YPG headquarters in northern Syria in 2015, particularly in the northern countryside of Raqqa.
Reporting by: Qehreman Miste and Hozan Mamo
Source: ARA News