MESOP FLASH : Al-Hasakah district holds out as regime, PYD bombard

WEST KURDISTAN (SYRIA) – SYRIA DIRECT 13-8-2014 – Regime forces and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) continued their bombardment of a holdout district in the northeastern city of al-Hasakah, marking the fourth consecutive day of fighting in the neighborhood. The PYD and regime forces engaged in fierce clashes with Ghweiran residents Tuesday night in a failed attempt to storm the neighborhood. The fighters are now independent, but many were with the FSA and the district is supportive of the Free Syrian Army.

“Random shelling, sporadic clashes, and a state of panic have forced more than 45 percent of residents to flee,” Amir al-Hakasawi, a civilian in Ghweiran, told Syria Direct Wednesday. Fighting in Ghweiran, which began Sunday, is the first direct combat al-Hasakah has witnessed between FSA sympathizers on one side and the PYD and regime forces on the other.The Islamic State (IS) is increasingly gaining ground around the provincial capital of al-Hasakah, most notably after IS captured the al-Milbiya regiment, located 10 km south of the city, on July 27th. Demonstrators took to the streets Tuesday in Ghweiran to demand IS intervention to “free the city of infidels and militias,” according to local activist Ismael Rafit, who was quoted in the pro-PYD outlet ARA News. Rafit’s remarks could not be verified.