ISIS launches new offensive on Kurdish positions in northeast Syria

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Kurdish fighters of the YPG. Photo: Jinda Ibrahim/ARA News

ARA News

HASAKAH – Clashes broke out on Sunday between the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Islamic State (ISIS) militants. Local sources told ARA News that the fighting was centered between Margada and Azzawi, in Syria’s northeastern Hasakah Governorate.

Sunday’s clashes were initiated by ISIS, which launched a fierce attack on the YPG headquarters in the town of Azzawi, using mortar shells and heavy machine guns. According to military sources, at least four Kurdish fighters were killed and seven more were wounded.

“Our forces responded by bombing ISIS positions near Margada Town in the southern countryside of Hasakah,” a YPG spokesman told ARA News.

“This led to fierce clashes […] and continued for at least three hours, and heavy weapons were used,” the spokesman said.

More than a dozen of ISIS militants were killed and scores more wounded in the clashes.

“The clashes stopped [at] midnight on Sunday,” a source said. ”The terrorists were forced to withdraw towards their bases in Margada under heavy blows by YPG units.”

ISIS Fortifications 

Islamic State (ISIS) militants have started digging trenches in the vicinity of Margada, a town in northeastern Syria. On Thursday, local sources reported that fortifications were being erected to protect the town’s ISIS headquarters.

Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) recently expelled ISIS from major areas in Hasakah Governorate.

The town of Margada is the last ISIS stronghold in Hasakah. It is located on the administrative border between Hasakah and Deir ez-Zor.

Azzam Khallawi, a local media activist, told ARA News: “Islamic State members have dug a trench around the northern part of Margada. The project is expected to proceed and cover the town’s suburbs from all sides.”

The group has also planted dozens of landmines in the vicinity of Margada in a bid to impede the SDF’s advance.

“We are already aware of those tactics by this terrorist group,” an SDF spokesman told ARA News. “ISIS believes […] fortifications could prevent our forces from retaking Margada but we assure them that we’re prepared for any scenario.”

ISIS launched a similar project in November 2015, fortifying its headquarters and digging trenches near al-Hawl. However, the project was ultimately unsuccessful as ISIS was driven from the border town by US-backed SDF fighters.

Reporting by: Ahmed Shiwesh

Source: ARA News

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