Kurdish Asayish forces besieged Syrian government bakery in Qamishlo: SOHR
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdish Asayish (Internal Security Forces) have besieged the Syrian government’s Al-Baath bakery in the city of Qamishlo in response to the Syrian government's blockade of Kurdish neighborhoods in Aleppo, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Friday.
Control of Qamishlo – also spelled Qamishli – is split between US-backed Kurdish forces and Syrian government troops, assisted by Iran-affiliated groups.
Syrian military forces are still present in some areas of Qamishlo, including the airport and Arab villages on the city’s southern outskirts, as well as the Syrian-Turkish border crossing, the security square, and the headquarters of the al-Baath party.
The SOHR said in its report that the Asayish’s siege is a response to “violations committed by regime forces against Sheikh Maqsoud residents in Aleppo.” In Aleppo, “the regime forces prevent the entry of essential daily supplies to the neighborhood including flour and fuel, as a part of imposing the siege around the neighborhood which is mostly inhabited by Kurdish people.”
Tensions are further heightened by an increasing bread crisis in northern Syria. There is currently a dearth of usable flour in the region due to failing agricultural crops brought on by drought and decreasing water flows to Syria.
Hundreds of civilians have been waiting in lines in front of the Baath bakery in Qamishlo to buy bread, the SOHR said in the same report.
The bakery has allegedly started selling bread bundles for 2,500 Syrian liras instead of the regular price of 400 Syrian liras.
The Syrian government has been besieging the Kurdish-held neighborhoods of Al-Ashrafiyyah and Sheikh Maqsoud in Aleppo since the end of last month.
According to the SOHR, the siege threatens the lives of 200,000 civilians living in these two neighborhoods.
Sheikh Maqsoud has been controlled by Kurdish forces since 2012.
As the Syrian government has been preoccupied with fighting rebel factions seeking to topple President Bashar al-Assad, it has largely turned a blind eye to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces' (SDF) control of Kurdish-populated cities.
Since 2011, the Syrian government has sought to avoid increasing tensions with the SDF, although government and Kurdish forces have clashed several times in the past – especially in the towns of Hasakah and Qamishlo.
In April of last year, Kurdish forces took control over the al-Tay neighborhood in Qamishlo city following several days of clashes.
The Syrian government has also occasionally blocked supplies from reaching Kurdish neighborhoods in Aleppo and Kurdish villages near Tal Rifaat due to tensions between the SDF and Syrian government forces.
In October 2019, Syrian government forces entered Tal Tamr and other towns in the northeast of Syria under a Moscow-backed agreement with the SDF after Turkey launched an offensive in the area.
Despite this, tensions persist between Damascus and the SDF. Both sides have failed to reach an agreement on the future of local autonomy in northeastern Syria, despite Russian mediation.
Read More: US military patrol blocked near Qamishlo
Damascus has also voiced dissatisfaction with the continued US presence in the Hasakah and Deir al-Zor provinces.