Kurdish militias and Syrian government forces are fighting for control of the northeastern city of Hasakah.
The two sides once worked together to combat ISIL, but now the Syrian government is accusing the Kurdish militias of seeking to divide the country. The Kurds, on the other hand, accuse the government of having a secret understanding with Turkey against them.
CCTV America’s Alaa Ebrahim reports from Hasakah.
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Syrian government forces fight Kurdish militias over HasakahThe Syrian government is accusing the Kurdish militias of seeking to divide the country. The Kurds, on the other hand, accuse the government of having a secret understanding with Turkey against them. CCTV America’s Alaa Ebrahim reports from Hasakah.
A fragile ceasefire has taken hold in Hasakah. The provincial capital in northeast Syria that withstood ISIL attacks has now fallen victim to fighting among former allies. The Kurdish YPG militia is trying to take the city from the hands of the Syrian government in a way that many view as an attempt to divide Syria and create a Kurdish entity.
Residents move cautiously around the streets buying whatever food they can lay their hands on. Many believe that the clashes could restart very soon.
Syrian army soldiers backed by local militia from Arab tribes in the region are fighting against difficult odds. The YPG enjoy the support of the U.S.-led coalition. The coalition has imposed a de facto no-fly zone over Hasakah, depriving the Syrian army of one of its few advantages in this battle.
But Syrian soldiers said they will go on fighting. “We will fight for the city no matter how difficult the battle may be.” The soldiers also admit that the battle feels strange. “It’s weird to fight against the Kurds after we fought alongside them against ISIL for so long.”
The Syrian army has a sizable force in the city, but without the support of air forces and under the tight siege the Kurds are imposing on the city, it is unlikely that the army can hold the city for long.
The battle for the city of Hasakah goes on. If the Kurdish militias take Hasakah and create a separate entity, they will threaten not only the government in Damascus but also Turkey. Such a move could, for the worst, push many residents of the area, who are mostly from Arab tribes, to ally themselves with radical groups like ISIL to seek protection.