Locals searching for victims under ruins after Syrian Islamist rebels bombed the Kurdish neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsoud in Aleppo. File photo

ARA News 

ERBIL – Kurdish members of the Syrian opposition have condemned the attacks by Islamist rebel groups on civilian Kurds in Aleppo, which killed dozens on Tuesday.

“We condemn this criminal and terrorist actions by al-Nusra Front and its allies of armed Islamist groups, and urge the international community to immediately stop this terrorist act,” Dr. Kamiran Haj Abdo, a member of the Foreign Relations official of the Kurdish National Council (KNC), told ARA News. 

“We also call on the Syrian opposition parties to raise their voice in the face of this terrorism against an important component of the Syrian people [in reference to Kurds] in order to work together towards a political solution to the Syrian crisis that leads to the end of tyranny and terror,” he said.

For the KNC, this includes a secular and federal state. “We need to establish a secular and democratic state on a federal basis, a state which secures for all components of the Syrian people the freedom and equality,” Abdo added. 

The attacks by Syrian opposition rebel groups on Kurdish civilians have put the KNC in a difficult spot. Also because the Syrian opposition, the KNC is part of, rejects any form of federalism. The KNC is part of the opposition delegation for the Geneva talks which are planned to resume next week.

In a public statement, the co-presidency of the Executive Council of the Afrin administration condemned the attack, holding the coalition and the KNC responsible.

“We condemn the media and the international silence towards what happened to Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood and call on the international community and all human rights organizations to provide assistance to the people there,” the local administration in Afrin said. 

“It is clear that the battalions supported by the Syrian Coalition are targeting civilians randomly and this is a crime against humanity,” Idris Nasan, a former senior official from the Kobane administration told ARA News. 

“It is not like when just armed groups fight each other, so KNC must condemn these killers,” he said. “On the political side the Arab opposition refuses any kind of federalism which is a Kurdish common demand and this makes KNC’s demands go unheard.”

On Tuesday, the Syrian Coalition condemned in a public statement the attacks on civilians.

“The Coalition reaffirmed its condemnation of any attacks on civilians, stressing that all sides have a responsibility to protect civilians,” the coalition said. “It also called on all military groups in Syria to demonstrate commitment to international law and avoid falling in the footsteps of the Assad regime in deliberately and systematically targeting civilians across Syria.”

In the meantime, leadership of the Kurdish forces of the Peoples Protection Units (YPG) in a statement accused opposition factions affiliated with the Syrian Coalition, such as Ahrar al-Sham, Liwa al-Fath, Liwa al-Sultan Murad, Division 16, Jaish al-Mujahideen, Group Fastqm Kama Emerat, Kataib Nur ad-Din Zanki and Northern Division, of continuing to target Kurds in Aleppo.

Syrian rebels massacre Kurdish civilians in Aleppo

Dozens of civilians, including women and children, were killed on Tuesday in attacks by Arab rebel groups on a Kurdish neighborhood in Syria’s northern Aleppo city, officials and activists told ARA News. 

The Kurdish neighborhood of Sheikh Mqsoud in Aleppo –held by fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG)– was exposed to heavy shelling by Islamist rebels on Tuesday. 

At least 70 civilians were reported dead in the bombardment of Sheikh Maqsoud. 

“The situation in Sheikh Maqsoud is very bad, the attacks of these rebel groups are continuing, and most of the casualties are women and children,” Kurdish affairs analyst Mutlu Civiroglu told ARA News. 

“These groups want to take control of Sheikh Maqsoud at any cost. They are indiscriminately shelling the neighborhood and killing civilians,” Civiroglu said.

“The sons of Hafez al-Assad who have removed the clothing of Arabism and put on the clothing of religion [in reference to Syrian Islamist rebels] are aiming their hatred and filth at the heads of the civilians,” Sharvan Darwish, a military commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), told ARA News. “The number of the martyrs has reached 70 civilians.” 

The attacks have also led to more rifts between the Syrian Kurdish political parties. The Kurdish National Council (KNC) is a member of the Syrian opposition, and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) has accused the Syrian opposition of backing the attacks on Sheikh Maqsoud. 

“YPG had already taken control on Sheikh Maqsoud, but al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham want to retake this area to open and control the way towards Afrin city north of Aleppo,” Salih said. “It’s a critical situation in this area.” 

Speaking to ARA News, Aymen Jawad al-Tamimi, a researcher with the Middle East Forum, said that Sheikh Maqsoud clashes might be related to the territorial competition between the Kurds and Islamist rebel groups.

“Although the exact spark of the clashes is not certain, but it could be related to the [Kurdish-led] SDF attempts to cut off a rebel supply route in northern Aleppo in a bid to expand west of Afrin,” he added.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg 

Source: ARA News 

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