Syrian regime forces bomb Kurdish city of Qamishli amid raging clashes


Kurdish fighters observe a building that was hit with mortar shells fired by pro-Assad forces in Qamishli on Thursday. Photo: ARA News

ARA News 

QAMISHLI – A fragile truce seems to have broken down between the Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) backed by the Asayish security forces on the one hand, and pro-regime forces and allied National Defense group on the other, as fierce clashes continued for the second day in the mainly Kurdish city of Qamishli in northeastern Syria, local sources reported on Thursday.

Local activists confirmed that the pro-regime army forces pounded Qamishli city with a number of mortar shells, causing casualties among civilians. 

Speaking to ARA News in Qamishli, rights activist Ferhad Hisso said that the regime forces stationed in the 54th military Regiment [Tartab] hit the area around Allaya prison (YPG-held Central Prison of Qamishli) eastern the city with a number of mortar shells, causing casualties among civilians.

“Several shells hit the Zaytouniya and al-Gharbi neighborhoods amid continued clashes between the Kurdish Asayish security forces and the pro-regime forces in the vicinity of the security square near al-Wihda roundabout and al-Khalij street in al-Kornish neighborhood south of the city,” Hisso reported.

At least four civilians were killed in the Zaytouniya neighborhood in Thursday’s bombardment, one of them was identified as Helin Ahmed, 10, and more than 24 others wounded, according to a medical source who talked to ARA News on condition of anonymity.

The injured were transferred to as-Salam Hospital in the city. 

“We gained control of the Allaya prison after pro-Assad troops have surrendered to the Asayish and YPG forcesــwho were surrounding the prison since Wednesday,” an Asayish official told ARA News.

“We are determined to liberate the city [Qamishli] from the pro-Assad thugs,” he said.

Local sources told ARA News that civilians have been trapped inside the city. “As violence escalates, there are no safe routes leading out of the city.”

In the meantime, militant fighters of the Islamic State (ISIS) on Thursday claimed responsibility for a suicide attack that killed a number of YPG fighters and injured several others in the al-Kornish neighborhood of Qamishli. 

The Amaq news agency reported Thursday afternoon that ISIS militants carried out a “martyrdom operation” with an explosive belt among dozens of YPG forces in the Kornish Street in southern Qamishli.

“More than 15 Kurdish fighters fell between dead and wounded in the operation,” it reported. 

On the other hand, the Kurdish forces in the city have neither confirmed nor denied the news published by pro-ISIS outlets. 

Noteworthy, Syrian government has not released any statements regarding the conflict in Qamishli. Separate clashes have taken place between the two sides in different Kurdish areas in northern Syria, with political leaders calling for ceasefire to focus on the fight against ISIS. 

Reporting by: Ahmad Shiwesh and Hozan Mamo

Source: ARA News

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