Al-Qaeda Clashes With Syrian Kurds Along Turkey Border

Seven al-Qaeda Fighters Killed in Attempt to Seize Kurdish Town

Al-Qaeda fighters attacked the Syrian Kurdish towns of Atma and Jandaris today, attempting once again to gain a foothold on West Kurdistan’s border with Turkey.

The attacks sparked a day of fighting with fighters from the PYD, a Kurdish militia linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that has mobilized in increasing numbers and is determined to keep Kurdish territory from falling to foreign Islamists.

Seven al-Qaeda fighters were killed in the clashes, and two Kurdish women were also slain in a mortar attack. The towns appear to have remained under Kurdish control as of the end of the day, but fighting is likely not over.

Syria’s Kurds have attempted to remain independent from both the Assad government and the rebels, and have carved out increased autonomy in their region. Close proximity to Turkey, a backer of rebels, is making them a target.

As various rebel factions try to get a leg up over one another, border crossings with Turkey have come at a premium as a way to smuggle weapons and fighters into the country. Kurdish crossings have been a source of major clashes.

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.