Fighting Between Kurds, Arab Rebels in North Syria Spiraling Out of Control

Free Syrian Army Disavows Murder of Two Kurdish Fighters

by Jason Ditz, May 22, 2016

Throughout the increasingly complex Syrian Civil War, one constant has been that any major group armed by the US will sooner or later start fighting the others. This is increasingly the case, with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Kurdish YPG increasingly at odds, threatening yet another war-within-a-war.

Occasional fighting has already been reported over the past month, with claims that the YPG had killed some 50 FSA members in fighting over the village of Ayn-Dakna, near the Turkey border, and was displaying the bodies of the slain fighters in nearby Afrin.

Over the past weekend, a former FSA officer, who the FSA now insists was “fired,” attacked and killed a pair of Kurdish fighters in what he said was a revenge attack for the village incident. The FSA dismissed it as a “false military operation.”

It reflects a growing amount of distrust between the two sides, however, the Arab-dominated FSA representing the Sunni Arab majority of Syria, and the Kurds representing the minority that dominates the nation’s northeast.

The US has been keen to back both sides, and has tried to get the two sides to work out their differences. With the YPG mostly fighting ISIS and the FSA mostly fighting the Assad government, however, they have very different priorities, and the fighting could easily continue to escalate.

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