A new report from Amnesty International says 15 civilians, including seven children, were killed recently in an al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) raid on the northeastern Hassakeh Province.
The civilians were in an agricultural region owned by Kurds, and the raid came after fighting between AQI and the Kurdish YPG militia. The civilians were believed to have been mistaken for Kurds.
The Hassakeh Province is in Syria’s far northeast, bordering Iraqi Kurdistan. AQI has taken some portions of the area, though their largest holdings are to the further west and south, a strip that starts near Aleppo and runs across the border into Iraq, and nearly to Baghdad.
AQI has been fighting several rival rebel groups, largely successfully, but has struggled to defeat the YPG, which has aid from Kurds in neighboring Iraq and Turkey, and which aims to protect Kurdish towns from rebel takeover.