PHOTO: Kurdish fighters in Hasakah on Saturday (Rodi Said/Reuters)
- Pro-Assad Forces Try Again to Enter Air Force College on SW Aleppo Front
- Regime Renews Assault in Northeast Latakia
UPDATE 1215 GMT: Supporting their colleagues in Hasakah, the Kurdish militia YPG in Aleppo city have cut a main supply route for pro-Assad forces and residents, according to the Local Coordination Committees.
Operating from the Sheikh Maqsoud area of Aleppo, the YPG blocked access along the al-Castello road to vehicles from regime-controlled districts.
Last month, pro-Assad forces had established fire control over the road to the north of the city, cutting off opposition neighborhoods. The siege lasted until early August, when rebels opened a corridor to the southwest of Aleppo.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Kurdish forces are on the offensive against the Syrian Army and militia in Hasakah in northeastern Syria.
Early Monday, the sixth day of battles between the two sides, the Kurdish YPG militia and Asayish security forces launched attacks to take the last regime-controlled parts of the city near the Turkish and Iraqi borders, according to YPG spokesmen and residents.
They are seeking to take over the southeastern district of Nashwa, close to a security compound near the Governor’s office. Earlier the Kurdish forces completed the capture of Ghwairan, the only major Arab neighborhood still in regime hands.
In a sign of the regime’s worry, a leading commander in Hasakah has been replaced, according to a prominent pro-regime activist. Brigadier General Ghassan Mohamad was the deputy commander of the Syrian Army’s 17th Division.
On Sunday, Syrian State media and pro-regime activists claimed that a tentative ceasefire agreement had been reached in the nearby city of Qamishli, but the report was denied by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and a journalist embedded with the Kurdish units in Hasakah.
The YPG, distributing leaflets and calling on loudspeakers across the city, told regime troops to hand over their weapons or face being killed:
To all the elements of the regime and its militias who are besieged in the city you are targeted by our units.
This battle is decided and we will not retreat….We call on you to give up your weapons or count yourselves dead.
Map by Artur Rosinksi of Newsmap
The Assad regime and Kurdish authorities have split control of Hasakah since 2013, after Kurdish units took over parts of the city. There have been periodic disputes, but all up to now have been resolved.
The current fighting began last Wednesday, with each side claiming that the other had attacked checkpoints. An initial ceasefire quickly collapsed on Wednesday night, and the Syrian Air Force began its first attacks on Kurdish positions in Syria’s 5 1/2-year conflict, hoping to check Kurdish assaults on the ground. Dozens of fighters and residents were reportedly killed, and thousands of people fled the city.
Footage of Kurdish fighters in Hasakah:
Rojava forces footage from Hesekê. pic.twitter.com/GTbQobSmEX
— Dr Partizan (@DrPartizan_) August 22, 2016
Kurdish Concern Over Rebel Attack on ISIS-Held Town of Jarablus
Meanwhile, Kurdish officials expressed concerns over reports of a rebel offensive to take the ISIS-held town of Jarablus, located on the Turkish border in north-central Syria.
The concerns were framed by the Kurdish “Military Council of Jarablus” as a warning that Turkey might reach agreement with the Islamic State to occupy the town.
They allowed huge numbers of ISIS militants through the border, to hit the stability in Syria. Turkey is also trying to activate terrorist groups like Al Qa’eda in Syria, which are celebrating the beheading of children in Aleppo….
We in the military council of Jarablus warn the Turkish government for its aggressive actions. We stress we will not stand idle towards such hostile acts.
We call on the US-led coalition to abide by its pledges to protect our region from the entry of Turkish forces, and its attempts to occupy Syria and hit the gains of our people.
Attention to Jarablus has risen since the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces defeated the Islamic State in the city of Manbij, to the south, earlier this month. Observers have foreseen a race between rebels and the SDF to reach Jarablus, considered an essential crossing point between Turkey and Syria.
Ankara reportedly encouraged Free Syrian Army units to move towards the town. Last week, FSA troops took the town of al-Rai, 54 km (34 miles) west of Jarablus, from the Islamic State.
A “senior rebel official” said last weekend that FSA forces are gathering in Turkey to cross the border in an offensive.
Kurdish Officials: Regime Attacked Us in Hasakah “To Impress Turkey”
Kurdish officials said on Sunday that the Assad regime had attacked in Hasakah to impress Turkey with the Syrian military’s strength, following the Kurdish defeats of the Islamic State across northern Syria.
Polat Can, the representative of the YPG militia to the US-led coalition fighting ISIS, said, “What the Syrian regime is trying to do is to create clashes with Kurds in Hasakah to compensate [for] the ISIS loss of Manbij city.”
Pro-Assad Forces Try Again to Enter Air Force College on SW Aleppo Front
The Syrian military and foreign allies are trying yet again to reclaim an air force college, taken by rebels earlier this month in their advance on the front southwest of Aleppo city.
The pro-Assad forces have launched several assaults in the past week to re-enter the college and artillery base, one of regime’s largest in the country, lost in early August. So far the attacks have been repelled with reports of heavy casualties.
Rebels and their supporters claim again today that they have checked the assault, killing dozens of troops.
Video of a regime BMP armored vehicle blown up with an anti-tank missile:
Regime Renews Assault in Northeast Latakia
Pro-Assad forces have renewed their assault in northeastern Latakia Province, moving at dawn on the village of Kabbani.
The Syrian military and foreign allies, enabled by Russian airstrikes, have taken much of the area since last autumn. Rebels regained some territory this summer, but the pro-Assad forces moved back into the town of Kinsibba 10 days ago.
The Syrian military is hoping to consolidate its presence in Latakia, putting pressure on rebels in neighboring Idlib and Hama Provinces.
(Map by Artur Rosinski of NewsMap)