Tension Continues in Kamışlı after the conflicts

by christineanderso

Tensions continue after violent clashes between local Kurdish security forces and government troops in Qamishli, northeast Syria.

According to reports in the local press, it supported the border with Turkey in a conflict between the two sides on Saturday government militia groups in the city, controlled by Kurdish forces erupted after a police station to open fire.

A source providing information to the VOA from the region said that Kurdish security forces, known as the Public Security Corps, responded to the attack and deployed reinforcements in the area.

“It was the members of the National Defense Forces (NDF) that controlled areas in the southern part of Qamishli who started the Saturday conflict,” the same source said.

The NDF is one of the effective militia forces in the Syrian conflict. Several of its commanders faced US sanctions for their role in persecuting civilians in the war-ravaged country.

A pro-government news website and other local sources reported that two members of the NDF were injured during the weekend clashes.

According to reports from the region, the clashes have stopped for now; The situation on the ground remains tense.

Located just across the town of Nusaybin in Mardin, Qamishli is mostly under the control of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The SDF is an important US military ally in the fight against IS.

However, Syrian government forces and allied militias have a significant military presence in the southern outskirts of the city and control the international airport.

In Qamishli, where the Kurds are in the majority, there have been occasional clashes between US-backed Kurdish forces and Syrian government troops since the start of the civil war in 2011.

Why did the conflicts flare up?

However, the tension in recent weeks is reportedly triggered by the arrest of high-ranking officials from both sides.

Ivan Hasib, a reporter in Qamishli, said the Asayish Units arrested a Syrian government intelligence officer and his son who crossed from Hasakah city to Qamishli a few weeks ago.

“Government troops responded by arresting several Kurdish security guards. The Russians quickly mediated between the two sides, and an unofficial ceasefire worked for a while,” Hasib told the VOA.

However, Hasib also pointed out that the violence on Saturday seems to be an extension of these tensions.

Russia, one of the biggest supporters of the Syrian government, has a significant military presence in the northeastern part of the country. Russia’s presence increased after the partial withdrawal of US troops from the region in October 2019.

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