Kurdish female fighters in Sheikh Maqsoud, Aleppo. Photo: ARA News
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ALEPPO – Clashes broke out on Thursday between Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Islamist fighters in the city of Aleppo, in northern Syria.
The clashes erupted after Islamist fighters of the Ahrar al-Sham Movement and al-Nusra Front [al-Qaeda branch in Syria] tried to infiltrate into the YPG-held Kurdish district of Sheikh Maqsoud in Aleppo.
“Nine Islamists were killed in the clashes, where the YPG repelled their attempt to hit the Kurdish district of Sheikh Maqsoud. Also, fourteen others were wounded and taken hostage by our units,” YPG spokesman Hassan Jammo told ARA News in Aleppo.
On the other hand, at least two YPG fighters and five civilians were reportedly injured in the clashes.
“Al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham started their offensive by firing mortar shells on residential buildings in Sheikh Maqsoud, and then tried to infiltrate into the district from the eastern axis, but our fighters responded by firing heavy machine guns. The extremist groups were eventually forced to withdraw,” the Kurdish official added.
Kurdish organisations called on the United Nations agencies to deliver humanitarian aid to the Sheikh Maqsoud district in Aleppo, which has been for months under siege by Syrian Islamist rebels.
At least 150 civilians were killed and 1100 others were wounded in the Kurdish district of Sheikh Maqsoud in Aleppo under bombardment by Islamist rebels, led by the Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and the Islamic Movement of Ahrar al-Sham.
“We are in urgent need for humanitarian aid, people are facing the danger of starvation. We suffer sharp shortage of basic supplies like food and medicines,” rights activist Ali al-Ahmed told ARA News in Aleppo.
“The United Nations must take action and save those civilians who have suffered the most under the barbaric military campaign by radical Islamists,” he said.
Al-Qaeda branch in Syria of Nusra Front, Islamic Movement of Ahrar al-Sham and other Islamist factions have been constantly shelling the Kurdish district since February.
Sheikh Maqsoud has been besieged for months, while the Kurdish YPG forces have been trying to push Islamists back.
A spokesman for the Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG)–that are in control of Sheikh Maqsoud–told ARA News that the bombardment on Sheikh Maqsoud has caused mass destruction of infrastructure, residential buildings and other facilities in the district.
Amnesty International has recently issued a report in regard with the developments in the Kurdish-populated district, saying: “Armed groups surrounding the Sheikh Maqsoud district of Aleppo city have repeatedly carried out indiscriminate attacks that have struck civilian homes, streets, markets and mosques, killing and injuring civilians and displaying a shameful disregard for human life.”
According to local sources, there are 35,000-40,000 civilians are still living in Sheikh Maqsoud, where people suffer from the absence of many services as a result of the blockade imposed by Islamist rebel groups on their district.
Speaking to ARA News, Luqman Ismail, one of the stranded citizens in Sheikh Maqsoud, said that electricity outage continues for nearly three years because of the barbaric bombardment led by Islamist rebels on the main network of power outside the district.
“These groups are apparently punishing the people of Sheikh Maqsoud for their support to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), who are engaged in fighting with Islamist rebels around the city of Aleppo,” he said.
Reporting by: Shero Darwish
Source: ARA News