Truce between Syrian army, Kurdish forces reached under Russian mediation in Hasakah

Source: XinhuaEditor: Yao Jianing
2016-08-22 10:44

DAMASCUS, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- A truce has been reached between Syrian forces and Kurdish fighters in the volatile northeastern province of Hasakah under a Russian mediation, pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV reported on Sunday.

The report said the regime of calm includes a cessation of battles, evacuation of wounded people, return to the previous lines of both parties, and the start of negotiations.

The ceasefire starts as of 5 p.m. on Sunday coupled with transporting the wounded to hospitals in the city of Qamishli in Hasaka.

The military positions should return to their previous state, as the negotiations are set to start on Monday at the Qamishli airport between representatives of the Syrian and Kurdish sides as well as Iranian and Russian mediators.

A day earlier, a source in the city told Xinhua that the Russians started mediation efforts to defuse the tension and the battles that have raged between the Kurdish police forces, Assayish, and the Syrian National Defense Forces (NDF), a paramilitary forces backing the army, over the past few days.

Tension started last week, when both the NDF and Assayish arrested members of each other.

As tension grew bigger, the Kurdish militias demanded the dissolve of the NDF in Hasakah, a request denied by the Syrian army.

Later on, the Assayish started shelling the NDF positions inside Hasakah, prompting the Syrian army to respond with airstrikes for the first time, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Assayish and the People Protection Units (YPG) said they will respond to the attacks of the Syrian forces, unleashing wide-scale offensives on the NDF positions inside the city of Hasakah.

The source said the Kurds couldn't advance in government-controlled areas, contrary to their claims that they have achieved that.

The Syrian artillery and airstrikes responded to the attempts of the Kurds to advance, he added.

He added that 80 percent of the people of Hasakah have fled their homes to areas in the countryside as a result of the latest confrontation.

Previous tension occurred between the Syrian forces and the Kurds, but both parties contained the situation to avoid further confrontations.

The YPG and other Kurdish militant groups have been assuming positions in Hasakah since 2012.

At the time, reports emerged about a tacit agreement between the Kurds and the Syrian government.

Even though many Kurdish figures denied it, but it's widely believed that the Kurds are planning to carve out a piece in northern Syria with heavy Kurdish weight as their autonomous state.

Buoyed by the support of the U.S.-led anti-terror coalition, the YPG and the allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have made sweeping victories against the Islamic State (IS) group, stripping the terror-designated militants of key areas in northern Syria.

The Russians were said to have also backed the Kurdish fighters in their push against the IS, but the Kurdish groups didn't disclose that, or admit receiving such support from Russia.

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