WEST KURDISTAN (SYRIA) : Attacks against villages of Serêkaniyê

ANF – Serêkaniyê 11.05.2013 – Two villages in the western Kurdistan city of Serêkaniyê were attacked by armed gang groups who evacuated the women and children from the village and plundered the houses here. Intense activity of Islamist groups has been reported in the neighborhood of Mehet, the district’s border with Turkey.

According to the reports by villagers, the villages of Salihiye and Melle Nuri, 20 km north of Serêkaniyê, were attacked by armed groups carrying flags reading “Allah u Ekber” . They said that the gang groups have taken the control of both villages and are now preparing for an attack targeting the village of Xirbedibis.

Local sources report an increasing activity by armed groups around the city of Serêkaniyê in recent days. Mutee, Ketibet Nexwe, Guraba El Şam and some groups affiliated to Free Syrian Army (FSA) have recently gathered in the village of Menecir. Several days ago, the groups kidnapped 44 civilians who have reportedly been taken to the  Al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front’s headquarters in Serêkaniyê. According to the sources, the al-Nusra Front is recently strengthening its relations with other armed groups around  Serêkaniyê.

The Arabic village of El Soda in Serêkaniyê, 22 km away from Til Temir, was also attacked by armed groups on 6 May. The villagers, whom the groups threatened with burning the village and forced to leave it, said they were attacked because they supported the YPG (People’s Defense Units). Al-Nusra groups have recently set fire to the health center in the mainly Arabic neighborhood of Mehet. Following the extinguishment of the fire by security forces, the group once again set the health center on fire. Entering Serêkaniyê via Turkey last year, the al-Nusra Front had to withdraw from the city after suffering heavy losses in clashes with YGP forces. Al-Nusra and Guraba  El Şam started to launch attacks against Serêkaniyê as of October 2012. Following severe clashes between YPG and armed groups in Serêkaniye for fifteen days, an agreement was reached between Kurdish Supreme Council and FSA in regard to Serêkaniyê on 17 February 2013, which included a local council to take care of the border crossing with Turkey.