At Least 18 Killed as Syrian Rebels Continue to Clash With Kurds

PKK-Linked Militias Oppose Rebel Expansion in Kurdish Lands

At least 18 people have been reported killed as fighting between the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Kurdish militia fighters linked to the PKK moved into its second day, with clashes centering on the streets of Ras al-Ayn.

The FSA seized the town of Ras al-Ayn earlier this week, and then sought to expand into neighboring Kurdish dominated towns nearby, seeing rebel control of the oil-rich region as an important gain over the regime.

The Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Kurds in control of those towns, didn’t see it that way, and after spending so much time staying out of the civil war, they weren’t about to just turn over their towns to the rebels.

Whether this draws the Kurds into the war on the regime’s side of simply leaves them as a third faction trying to keep their towns from being sacked remains to be seen. Either way, the FSA seems to be in for more than they bargained for in this particular part of the Syria-Turkey border.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.