ARA News – Exclusive
Hasakah, Syria – Following days of clashes at the outskirts of Hasakah city in northeastern Syria, militants of the al-Qaeda splinter group of the Islamic State (IS) failed so far in entering the city. Military forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and Kurdish forces of the Popular Protection Units (YPG) –linked to the Democratic Union Party (PYD)– took turns in fighting against IS militants in Hasakah environs, preventing the advance of the latter towards the city.
Neighbourhoods with a Kurdish majority in Hasakah fall under the control of the YPG and Assayish forces, with other Arab majority areas are controlled by pro-Assad fighters of the National Defence Army. The city center remains a main stronghold of the syrian regime forces. What these different armed groups have in common is their fight against Islamic State. Security checkpoints surround each neighbourhood of Hasakah city, as all armed groups are in a constant state of alert to attacks by IS militants. The current situation led many observers to emphasize that a direct coordination is taking place between the Kurdish forces of the YPG and Assayish on the one hand, and pro-Assad security and military forces on the other.
In an exclusive interview with ARA News, the leading member of the PYD (political leadership of the YPG and the Assayish), Sheikhmous Ahmad, said that there is no direct coordination between their forces and the Syrian regime.
“YPG fighters are deployed in the four directions of Hasakah city, and the YPG’s advance in other non-Kurdish areas of Hasakah was a matter of necessity because of the intense attacks by militants of the Islamic State and the inability of the regime forces to face IS group alone. In the end we are all fighting one main enemy,” Ahmad said.
Ahmad emphasized that the YPG’s duty is to protect all people of Hasakah; Thus not only Kurds, but also Arab and Christian residents of the city.
“We are not protecting the regime and its institutions in Hasakah, but we rather protect civilians of Hasakah against IS extremists,” the PYD official told ARA News.
He described the recent operation by the YPG in helping pro-Assad soldiers to escape al-Milabiya regiment (in southern Hasakah) after IS control as “a humanitarian duty”.
Ahmad said that IS “robbed the cotton and wheat crops in al-Milabya area”, adding that the YPG lost several fighters while trying to protect the corps. “Our forces defended the property of the Syrian people and sacrificed for the sake of all residents of the region.”
Ahmad clarified that Hasakah’s juvenile prison and the power station are currently under YPG’s control “after expelling IS”.
“YPG is dealing cautiously with the Arab-populated neighbourhoods of Hasakah, especially Geweran. The rumours about YPG’s shelling against Geweran neighbourhood and killing civilians there is untrue,” Ahmad said. “We (Kurds and Arabs) are siblings, but some parties try to create unrest between Kurds and Gweran Arab residents.”
Ahmad mentioned the visit of prominent Arab tribal figures to the PYD officein Hasakah to ask assistance of the YPG units to protect them.
According to the PYD official, they have launched an initiative to form a council representing the different social components in Hasakah and take consultative decisions for the sake of all residents of the city in the face the current challenges.
“This council aims to regulate the administrative and public service issues of the region and will decide for the regime’s security forces in the city,” Ahmad stated to ARA News. “Each component (Kurds, Arabs and Christians) will have five seats, and one of each is allocated for women.”
“However, Arabs are still afraid of establishing such councils,” according to him.
Ahmad said that his party is has communications with many Kurdish parties including the Kurdistan Democratic Party-Syria (KDP-S) –a rival party to the PYD. “We try to coordinate with other political forces.”
Talking about the accusations of Hadi al-Bahra, president of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC),to the YPG and its alleged support to the regime “by fighting IS”, Ahmad said: “These statements serve IS not the Syrian revolution or the Kurdish issue.”
“After more than three years of war, the SNC (oppositions’ largest body) is still unable to submit a project for Syria the future. It failed in leading the revolution due to its wrongful policies,” the PYD official concluded.
Interviewing by: Zaradesht Khalil
Source: ARA News
For the latest news follow us on Twitter
Join our Weekly Newsletter