Explosion Targets Syrian Security Forces in Qamishli

01/10/2012  By WLADIMIR van WILGENBURG – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—A huge explosion struck the political security branch in Qamishli on Sunday, killing 8 and wounding more dozens. This explosion signals a new wave of violence in Syria’s Kurdish areas.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the explosion was the result of a car bomb that targeted the al-Gharbi neighborhood of the city that is home to several security branches. Following the blast, security forces surrounded the site, the hospital, and sealed off the area. Syrian state TV said the explosion was the work of a suicide bomber.

According to Avend Akreyi, a member of the Kurdish Youth Movement (TCK), most of those killed in Sunday’s bombing were members of the government security forces. Akrey said that the Kurdish Freedom Brigade and the United Qamishli brigades of the FSA are also active in Qamishli. Freelance journalist Loveday Morris who recently visited Qamishli, wrote on Twitter, that the Syrian army has increased the number of checkpoints in the city after supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) said at a rally in Dirk that it was ‘time to liberate Qamishli’.

According to Massoud Ako, a member of the Syrian Journalists Association (SJA), based in Norway, more than 50 were wounded and taken to the national hospital of Qamishli. “Someone wants to push the Kurds inside the fire. Many opposition parties say why the Kurdish area is calmer. I do not know who [did it],” he told Rudaw. The Kurdish news website Welati reported that the Kurdish Battalion of the FSA in Qamishli denied responsibility for the explosion, suggesting they are there to protect the Kurdish people and they are against such bombings.

There are speculations that tensions between the FSA and PYD might grow over increasing operations of the FSA in the Kurdish areas of Hasaka province.

Late last month, two members of the Kurdish Salah Edin Eyubi battalion were killed, and one member of the People’s Defense Union (YPG) were killed in Efrin when the YPG forces called on members of the battalion to surrender.

Firat News Agency—known for its sympathetic views to the PKK—blamed the Turkish intelligence services and the Kurdish Freedom Party (Azadi) for increased anti-Assad operations in the area. The news agency reported earlier that the YPG had captured an armed group in the Himo village near the Turkish border and killed two members of the group in the confrontation. A statement by the PYD Media Office on Aug. 29 reported the formation of an FSA military council in Hasakah. “The Free Syrian Army threats against the Kurds and vowing to interfere in those areas is a sign of Turkish intelligence activities,” read the statement. Furthermore, clashes took place between rebels from the Tawheed brigade, pro-Syrian militias and YPG fighters in the Kurdish district of Sheikh Maqsoud in Aleppo last month when the YPG tried to drive both groups out of the district.Following this incident the Tawheed brigade threatened the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an indirect reference to the PYD, on their Facebook page, and called on the “PKK gangs to drop their weapons immediately.”