HASAKA, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan24) – Dozens of civilians lost their lives on Saturday in Syrian army airstrikes in a mainly Kurdish neighborhood in the city of Hasaka, Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava).
A Kurdistan24 correspondent embedded with the Syrian Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) reported that the Syrian army jets launched aerial strikes on al-Aziziya neighborhood early Saturday morning.
Dr. Mizgin, a surgeon at Aziziya Public Hospital, told Kurdistan24 that there are more than 20 civilians dead, including children and women, and about 30 wounded in the hospital.
He added that the casualty toll may rise as people are still being rescued under the rubble.
YPG fighters in Hasaka told Kurdistan24 that their forces are advancing rapidly in the Syrian government-held areas of the city.
The YPG command said in a statement that their forces had controlled many areas of the city despite aerial strikes and artillery shelling by the Syrian Army.
“In the face of these brutal attacks on our people, [the YPG] shall not remain silent [and] we will strongly stand against the assaults and respond to those killing our people,” the YPG statement read.
SYRIAN GOVERNMENT RESPONSE
In a statement issued on Friday, The General Command of the Syrian Army accused the YPG and the Kurdish Security Forces (Asayish) of attacking public institutions and theft.
“The Asayish has recently escalated its provocative actions in Hasaka city…causing a state of chaos and instability,” the Syrian state news agency SANA reported.
Regarding a ceasefire proposed by different parties in the city, the Syrian Army said it was refused by the Kurdish forces.
“The Asayish did not respond to all the attempts that were made to contain the situation and restore security and stability to the city,” SANA reported.
Additionally, the Governor of Hasaka Mohammad Za’al Ali told the Syrian state TV that he felt sorry that Kurdish forces turned against their allies after advancements against the Islamic State (IS).
“The Syrian Army supported the Kurdish forces in their fight against [IS], and Redur Khalil [the spokesperson for the YPG] remembers well how much we [Syrian government/army] supported him with tanks and ammunition,” the Governor said.
However, the YPG Command denied the statement by the Governor of Hasaka.
“Most people of Hasaka remember when the Syrian Army withdrew and left many parts of the city for [IS] last year,” the YPG statement said.
OFFICIAL US POSITION
The US Department of Defense reported on Friday that American planes were scrambled over northeastern Syria after two Syrian air force fighter jets launched strikes near Hasaka.
The Defense Department spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters at the Pentagon on Friday that it was the first time US planes had been scrambled in response to Syrian bombing.
“The coalition has never before seen the Assad regime take such action against the mainly Kurdish YPG,” the spokesman reported.
Davis further warned the Syrian regime not to interfere with coalition forces.
“As we’ve said in the past, the Syrian regime would be well-advised not to interfere with coalition forces or our partners,” he concluded.
[Shops at the market in the city of Hasaka, northeastern Syria, are closed and painted with the Syrian regime flag with pro-Assad expressions like "Either Assad or Nobody" and "ِAssad fighters trod here." The market is now under the control of the Asayish and YPG, Hasaka, Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), Aug. 20, 2016. (Photo: Kurdistan24)]
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Kurdistan24 reporter Heybar Othman contributed to this report from Hasaka)