For the first time in the five-year civil war, Syrian warplanes have bombed Kurdish forces in the northeastern city of Hasakeh. The YPG has reported at least 13 people were killed in the attacks, which they termed a “flagrant act of aggression.”
This marks a dramatic shift in the war. Syrian military forces have previously supported the Kurdish YPG in the defense of Hasakeh, with the two sides fighting joint operations against ISIS when it has attempted to take over parts of the city itself.
It is totally unclear what started this fighting, but in addition to airstrikes there are reports that government forces are shelling the city with artillery, and that there are battles on the ground. The two sides also briefly clashed back in April, when government-allied troops tried to enter Qamishli and were repelled.
The Kurds have long tried to avoid direct involvement in the civil war itself, trying to keep their territory relatively autonomous, and focusing their fighting overwhelmingly on ISIS. The YPG has avoided fighting the government to such an extent that some rebels objected to their involvement in peace talks on the grounds that they weren’t really “rebels” to begin with.
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