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Rudaw

Syria

Kurds take more Territory in Syria as Government Troops Withdraw

By Rudaw 31/7/2014
YPG fighters taking a break from their duties. Photo: Free Kurdistan/Flickr
YPG fighters taking a break from their duties. Photo: Free Kurdistan/Flickr

QAMISHLO – Kurdish leaders in Syria said Wednesday they took control of major territories after government troops completely withdrew from Hassakah province.

The reason behind the alleged Syrian troop withdrawal is not clear, but leaders of the Kurdish Peoples Protection Units (YPG) said they moved in and took control of many villages before Islamic militants seized the chance.

Nevertheless, YPG forces engaged in intense fighting with Islamic State (IS/ISIS) fighters at the village of Kitish, which they eventually wrested from the rebels. Until Tuesday, the village was used by the militants to launch attacks against YPG positions.

A Rudaw correspondent in Qamishlo said that the YPG have now taken new areas south of Kobane, and that fighting continues there and in other parts of Hassakah.

Wednesday’s developments marked a new turning point for the Kurds of Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), particularly in Kobane which has been under intense shelling from the IS for several weeks.

The YPG is the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which runs much of Rojava in three autonomous cantons.

The majority of Hassakah’s population is Kurdish and the province shares borders with Iraqi Kurdistan and the Turkey’s Kurdish south. It is Syria’s oil-rich province and agricultural basin.

The YPG said on Wednesday that IS is now fighting with tanks and other heavy weaponry seized from the Iraqi army last month.

Fathullah Husseini, a leader of the Kurdish Leftist Party in Rojava who enjoys close partnership with the YPG, said that for Syrian Kurds this “is a war of life and death.”

He told Rudaw that the forces in Rojava welcome assistance from all Kurdish parties from across the Middle East “to face off this dangerous situation.”

Earlier this month scores of young Kurds from Turkey rushed across the border and joined the YPG as volunteer fighters, forming two new battalions.

Syrian government forces have largely been absent from the Kurdish areas after they withdrew in July 2012 to fight off rebel groups in Aleppo and Homs.

Also on Wednesday, Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani spoke of the dire situation in Rojava during a visit to the Peshmerga frontlines in Mosul.

“The same way you defend the Kurdistan Region, I ask you to defend your brothers and sisters in Rojava,” Barzani told a gathering of Peshmergas.

Tahir Svok, head of the Kurdish National Council in Syria, condemned the IS assaults on the Kurdish areas. “Our stance will always remain political,” he told Rudaw.

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Melisa  Mardin
Melisa Mardin | 31/7/2014
Biji berxwedana YPG!
Muraz Adzhoev | 31/7/2014
In the current circumstances it becomes necessary to eliminate causes and consequences of controversial information confrontations, that are detrimental to the unity and cohesion in the Kurdish liberation movement in face of threats and provocations against the independence of Southern Kurdistan and the political process of the peaceful struggle for national rights of the Kurdish people in Turkey. The situation in Syria as a whole and in Western Kurdistan in particular has directly related to these key issues. The KAR's authorities should clearly and publicly disclose its official political position on the situation and events in Western Kurdistan to prevent unacceptable actions damaging interests and aspirations of the Kurdish people, that wants and needs to know the true facts with good and bad contexts.
mina | 31/7/2014
Very good news ,Now more than any time kurds need unity , so please fight for free kurdistan together and with full unity , your idiologi must just be free kurdistan nothing else.
Mihvan Batifi | 31/7/2014
We should support Rojava more than we have done so far. The KRG should do more, at least when it comes about giving them weaopons.
Hersh | 31/7/2014
I find it strange that Rudaw is not reporting on how once again Al-Nusra and the Syrian oppositions are cooperating with IS against the Kurds, this time in Afrin, The Free Syrian Army and Islamic Front, supported by Turkey, have withdrawn from the vicinity of Al Bab, leaving it to IS for a major attack on Kurds.
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