NE Syria: Kurds clash with pro-Assad militias in Hasaka

Heavy clashes erupted on Tuesday between the Syrian Kurdish Security forces (Asayish) and the militias affiliated with the Syrian government in Hasaka, northeastern Syria.

HASAKA, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan24) – Heavy clashes erupted on Tuesday between the Syrian Kurdish Security forces (Asayish) and the militias affiliated with the Syrian government in Hasaka, northeastern Syria.

A Kurdistan24 correspondent in Hasaka said heavy clashes broke out early in the morning when the pro-Assad militias known as the National Defense Forces (NDF) arrested several Kurds arbitrarily. 

The clashes took place in the regime-held part of the city when the government-affiliated militias arrested several Kurdish men at a checkpoint in al-Nashwa neighborhood.

According to the Kurdistan24 correspondent, the pro-regime forces had been harassing and arresting Kurds for the past 10 days. He added that the violations against civilians eventually escalated.

The correspondent confirmed the casualty toll after the clashes with four Asayish and 22 civilians wounded, 15 of whom were transported to Dar Alshifaa hospital. Additionally, five pro-Assad militias were killed.

An activist in Hasaka, who spoke to Kurdistan24 on condition of anonymity, said the pro-Assad militias deployed several snipers who randomly shot at the civilians and terrified them.

The activist who was at the market when the pace of clashes extended to other neighborhoods in the city said that the area was immediately evacuated.

Clashes have created a state of tension and panic among residents who fled the market in fear.

Tension and panic increased when a state of alert spread among the government forces and the use of mortar shells began.

The activist said that a mortar shell hit Tal Hajar neighborhood and fell beside Mosab Bin Omair Mosque.

Other mortar shells hit Askariya neighborhood beside Hikma hospital and the main market in the center of the city. 

Additionally, the Kurdistan24 correspondent, who was in the Kurdish-held area of the city, reported that the public institutions affiliated with the Kurdish administration closed and sent their staff home.

Syrian government forces and their affiliates could not be reached for comment.

The city had already witnessed violent clashes many times in the last three months.

On May 18, heavy clashes broke out in Hasaka when Syrian government troops interfered with high school final exams taking place in the Kurdish-controlled areas of the city. The violence resulted in the death of two civilians.

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 Issuance, and many other public departments.


Editing by Karzan Sulaivany

(Kurdistan24 correspondent Heybar Othman contributed to this report from Hasaka)