MESOP SITUATION REPORT HASAKAH : Kurds Advancing versus Regime

22 Aug 2016 – By Scott Lucas – eaworldview – Kurdish forces are on the offensive against the Syrian Army and militia in Hasakah in northeastern Syria. Early Monday, the sixth day of battles between the two sides, the Kurdish YPG militia and Asayish security forces launched attacks to take the last regime-controlled parts of the city near the Turkish and Iraqi borders, according to YPG spokesmen and residents. They are seeking to take over the southeastern district of Nashwa, close to a security compound near the Governor’s office. Earlier the Kurdish forces completed the capture of Ghwairan, the only major Arab neighborhood still in regime hands.

In a sign of the regime’s worry, a leading commander in Hasakah has been replaced, according to a prominent pro-regime activist. Brigadier General Ghassan Mohamad was the deputy commander of the Syrian Army’s 17th Division.On Sunday, Syrian State media and pro-regime activists claimed that a tentative ceasefire agreement had been reached in the nearby city of Qamishli, but the report was denied by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and a journalist embedded with the Kurdish units in Hasakah.

The YPG, distributing leaflets and calling on loudspeakers across the city, told regime troops to hand over their weapons or face being killed:

To all the elements of the regime and its militias who are besieged in the city you are targeted by our units.This battle is decided and we will not retreat….We call on you to give up your weapons or count yourselves dead. The Assad regime and Kurdish authorities have split control of Hasakah since 2013, after Kurdish units took over parts of the city. There have been periodic disputes, but all up to now have been resolved.The current fighting began last Wednesday, with each side claiming that the other had attacked checkpoints. An initial ceasefire quickly collapsed on Wednesday night, and the Syrian Air Force began its first attacks on Kurdish positions in Syria’s 5 1/2-year conflict, hoping to check Kurdish assaults on the ground. Dozens of fighters and residents were reportedly killed, and thousands of people fled the city.