HASAKA, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan24) – On Friday, the Syrian Kurdish forces of People Protection Units (YPG) along with the Kurdish Security forces (Asayish) captured Syrian government-held areas in Hasaka, northeastern Syria.
Kurdistan24 correspondent embedded with the YPG in Hasaka reported that the Kurdish forces controlled most of the main market in the city center that was held by the Syrian government forces.
A YPG fighter who talked to Kurdistan24 on the condition of anonymity said their forces advanced in parts of the city center and captured sections of the Syrian government-held neighborhoods of Ghuweyran and Alnashwa in the south and west of the city.
“Our forces [YPG] are at a distance of about 300 meters from Hasaka governor’s office,” the YPG fighter said.
Several residents in Hasaka’s mainly Kurdish neighborhood of Salihiya told Kurdistan24 that two artillery shells hit the neighborhood in early morning, destroying several houses and wounding dozens.
In a statement, the spokesperson for the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), Redur Khalil said that the Syrian government launched aerial strikes on Hasaka for the first time since the outbreak of Syrian Civil War in 2011.
“This aggressive act by the Syrian government is a reaction to the victories that the YPG-led forces made in Manbij against the Islamic State (IS) group,” Khalil said.
“The Syrian government is against the Kurdish victories against IS, because this makes us [Kurds] stronger,” he explained.
“We, the People Protection Units, vow to defend our people and lands against this aggressive act,” Khalil said.
Regarding the casualties, Kurdistan24 learned from the public hospital of Aziziya that on Friday, about 17 civilians and 4 Kurdish security elements lost their lives.
Additionally, about 12 Pro-Assad militias were killed and about 45 civilians were wounded in Alnashwa neighborhood.
On Thursday, Al-Aziziya neighborhood in the east of the city was hit by mortar shells claiming the lives of three children and wounding five women.
Kurdistan24 learned from activists that the mortar shells came from a military base belonging to the Syrian army (known as Regiment Twenty One) based on Kawkab Mountain south of the city.
The clashes between the Syrian Kurdish Security forces (Asayish) and YPG against the militias affiliated with the Syrian government broke out on Tuesday when the pro-Assad militias known as the National Defense Forces (NDF) arrested several Kurds arbitrarily.
Syrian government forces and their affiliates could not be reached for comment.
The city has witnessed violent clashes many times in the last three months.
Hasaka is the capital of the surrounding province of the same name. The city is under the shared control of the government forces with their affiliates, and Kurdish forces (Asayish and YPG).
Some professional institutions in the city are still operating and are funded by the Syrian government.
These include the Public Directorate of Education, the Justice Palace, Directorate of Migration and Passport, and many other public departments.
Editing by Ava Homa
(Kurdistan24 correspondents Heybar Othman and Ekrem Salih contributed to this report from Hasaka)