Casualty toll of Aleppo's Syrian Kurds exceeds 1,000
ALEPPO, Syria (Kurdistan24) – On Monday, assaults by the extremist Syrian rebels on the mainly Kurdish-populated area in Syria’s Aleppo reached a casualty toll of nearly 1,050 dead and wounded.
Speaking to Kurdistan24, Redur Khalil, the spokesperson of the Kurdish forces of People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), said on Tuesday that the international community has turned a blind eye on the brutal assaults by al-Qaeda affiliated groups against the predominantly Kurdish neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsoud.
“The reports that we have in the YPG Press Office reveal that more than 100 civilians lost their lives while at least 900 were wounded within seven months,” he said.
Additionally, the Syria-based Kurdish Hawar News Agency (ANHA) said in a detailed report on Monday that 138 civilians were killed, and 912 others were wounded in the attacks by al-Qaeda's Syrian offshoot Nusra Front and Jaysh al-Islam, a coalition of Islamist units involved in the Syrian civil war.
Attacks wounded 233 children and 257 women.
“The attacks [on Sheikh Maqsoud] began in 2012, continued intermittently, increased in September 2015, and have intensified since Feb. 16 until this moment,” the ANHA report said.
Regarding the identities of the extremist groups that attack Sheikh Maqsoud, ANHA reported that they are related to the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) and that they are backed by Turkey’s ruling AK Party (AKP).
“Aleppo’s Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood has been exposed to attacks from the SNC gangs connected to AKP nearly seven months ago, causing casualties and damage in the neighborhood,” the report said.
The YPG, the military wing of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), has repeatedly demanded the Kurdish National Council in Syria (ENKS) withdraw from KNC, but many political rifts have prevented the implementation of this request.
However, ENKS, which is part of Syria’s opposition SNC, condemned the attacks on Sheikh Maqsoud in a press release published last month.
“As the Kurdish National Council in Syria, we condemn this terrorist activity and believe that the opposition forces have to protect civilian lives,” the ENKS statement said. “We call upon the Syrian opposition to stop all military actions immediately.”
YPG, which is a key ally of both the United States and Russia in the fight against the Islamic State (IS), have been battling insurgents for months on a heavily contested frontline that includes the district and countryside near Aleppo. The reason for the attacks is that many insurgents view the YPG as allies of the Syrian regime, a charge the Kurds deny.
Reporting by Hisham Arafat
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany and Ava Homa
Casualty details provided by ANHA:
Sep. 22 – Nov. 28, 2015: 15 civilians died, 58 others were wounded.
Nov. 28 – February 16, 2015: 20 civilians were killed, and 159 others were wounded.
Feb. 16 – April 5, 2016: 72 civilians died, 564 others were injured.
April 5 – April 13: 31 civilians dead, and 140 others wounded.