Civilians Flee as Syrian Military, Kurds Clash Over Key City

Syrian Army: Kurds Were Trying to Take Over Entire City

by Jason Ditz, August 19, 2016

Heavy fighting entered its second day in the northeast Syrian city of Hasakeh, where Kurdish YPG forces battles the Syrian Army over territory on the ground, and US and Syrian warplanes loomed overhead, setting the stage for an even bigger battle.

Civilians have been fleeing Hasakeh en masse since the fighting began, and the Kurdish YPG reported evacuating thousands of civilians from areas along the front-lines between the two forces, which have long held Hasakeh and jointly defended it from ISIS.

The Syrian Army reported that the fighting, which began yesterday, was the result of the YPG trying to take over parts of the city which had traditionally remained under government control, and they insisted that all further attempts by the Kurds to expand into those districts would be met by force.

Through most of the war, both sides accepted this split nature as necessary to defend the city from ISIS. With ISIS’ focus recently centered further to the west, it appears that both sides are less worried about defending Hasakeh, and more interested in consolidating their respective positions in the area.

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