MESOP REPORT HASSAKEH : Regime-Kurdish Clashes Continue as Negotiations Fail

21 Aug 2016 – By Scott Lucas – eawolrdview – Regime and Kurdish forces fought for a fourth day in Hasakah in northeastern Syria on Saturday, amid a failure of negotiations for a ceasefire. Pro-regime websites cited a “military source” who said that the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Party (PYD) and its YPG militia had demanded the complete withdrawal of the pro-Assad militia, the National Defense Forces, from the city. The source said that the regime countered with the proposal that some NDF groups could be disarmed, provided the YPG and PYD disarm the Kurdish security force, the Asayish.Clashes were renewed in the two main areas of fighting, the al-Nashwa and Gweiran districts, on Saturday night.A YPG commander, Lewend Rojava, suggested that the conflict will expand, with the militia — a leading force in the war in northern Syria, fighting both the Islamic State and Syria’s rebels — joining the Asayish in the fighting.

Rojava said the main reason for the eruption of conflict was “the chauvinism of the Baathist regime, and resistance to change its approach which denies the existence of coexisting peoples in the region”. He warned the Assad regime: “Do not show off your power and test it on us.”

The YPG called for local support in a statement on Saturday:We in the YPG call upon our people — the Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians and Armenians — to support their legitimate units of the YPG/YPJ, Asayish and Social Protection Forces to stand united against the terror of the regime and safeguard the region.

Kurdish outlets said more civilians were evacuated from the city on Saturday.

There have been recurrent clashes in Hasakah since 2013, when control of the city was divided between regime and Kurdish forces. However, this week’s battles have been the most serious, with the Syrian Air Force bombing Kurdish positions for the first time. After initial talks for a ceasefire broke down on Wednesday night, regime supporters began speaking of an “all-out war”, while the Kurdish YPG said, “Every hand spattered with the blood of our people will be held to account through all possible and available means.”

Thousands of civilians have left the city, with unconfirmed reports saying that dozens of fighters and residents have been killed.