Syrian Kurds Seize Most of NE City of Hasakeh From Govt

Clash With Military Ends, But Fight With Turkey Looms

by Jason Ditz, August 23, 2016

Efforts to get a ceasefire in place in the northeastern Syrian city of Hasakeh have ultimately succeeded,  and Kurdish YPG forces stopped fighting with the Syrian Army. The deal did not see the YPG returning territory seized from the Army, however, and instead has them controlling materially the entire city.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the YPG holds everything except for a few buildings in the security quarter, and that despite a “symbolic presence,” the situation marks a major defeat for the government in Hasakeh.

This ends the fighting between the YPG and the military, at least for now, and seems to be setting the stage for further escalation to the west, where YPG-dominated forces recently captured the city of Manbij. Turkey claimed to have been assured by the US the Kurds would immediately withdraw from the mostly Arab city after expelling ISIS.

That didn’t happen. There is no sign the YPG or its allies are leaving the city, and Turkey has already launched a flurry of artillery strikes against it. With Turkish-backed rebels planning to invade the city of Jarabulus, to the north, it seems that the Kurdish force could quickly find itself face-to-face with the rebels over Manbij, a major battle that would include substantial Turkish backing against the Kurds, who they desperately want to see expelled from the area around the Euphrates River.

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