A YPG fighter at a guard post on the Syria-Turkey border. Photo: AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - The Syrian Kurdish Peoples Protection Units (YPG) have made advances at the expense of Syrian opposition groups in the country's north amidst continued Russian aerial bombardments being carried out in support of a major Syrian offensive aimed at routing out the rebels from that important part of the country.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, fighters opposed to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad abandoned the villages of Aqlamiyah, Deir Jamal and Mareanar on Sunday due to their fears of being bombed.
The YPG capitalized on the vacuum and advanced to seize those three villages. This comes mere days after they took another three towns from these groups.
Residents in the towns reportedly called upon the fighters to leave and let the YPG take over since that would lessen the chance of the Russians bombing them.
The YPG has clashed with Syrian military forces in the past but has not been part of the uprising against the Syrian regime and has been mainly focused on fighting Islamists in recent years. Russia claims to support Syria's Kurds.
The Russians are supporting a Syrian effort to close off the borders of both Turkey in the north and Jordan in the south, where Russian warplanes are supporting a Syrian offensive against a U.S.-backed opposition group.
The Kurds also want to close off Syria's northwestern border with Turkey which has long been a conduit to various anti-Assad groups, many of whom are Islamist and have killed Kurds.