Fighting resumes in Hassakeh despite Russian push for peace

Fighting resumes in Hassakeh despite Russian push for peace
2 min read
21 August, 2016
After days of heavy fighting in Hassakeh between Kurdish and regime forces, a Russian delegation sent to to halt the violence has had little effect.
Fighting had erupted in Hasakah province last week [Getty]

Kurdish fighters in Syria's Hassekeh city launched an overnight assault on regime positions, as a Russian mediation team sent to end the rift between the two sides reached a deadlock.

Kurdish forces advanced on several districts in the south of the city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, while regime snipers took aim at Kurdish areas.

Reports suggest that regime air raids on the city resumed on Sunday morning, after a brief lull in the bombing following US threats.

Media activist Suhaib al-Huskkawi told The New Arab said there was brief quiet when the Russian commission arrived in Qamishli from Hassakeh airport to help contain unrest in eastern city.  

"The Russian delegation met with Kurdish officials and security forces whereas no officials from the regime of National Defence [Foreces] militias attended," he added.  
Attempts to reach a local truce agreement failed due to a the continued demands by Kurdish groups that pro-Damascus militias quit the city and the regime to take part in the talks, locals told The New Arab

Kurdish People's Protection Units control most of the city and have demanded the regime militias leave the city or dissolve, which contributed to the breakout in fighting.

There were reports of sniper fire from regime areas on Saturday night and commentators have said that many of the regime force appear to be from Lebanese militia Hizballah.

Syrian troops and seasoned Kurdish fighters have coordinated on security matters in Hassakeh province before, where the threat of nearby Islamic State group militants hangs high.

Tensions built up between the sometimes-rival authorities over the issue of conscription in the city.

Syrian regime warplanes bombed Kurdish positions in Hassakeh after fighting between the two sides broke out last week.

Kurdish militias are key US allies in the fight against IS, and Washington has provided them with weapons and advisers on the battlefield.

The US has also reportedly opened up an air base in Kurdish-controlled Syrian territory, while Russia - which is helping prop up the regime - is close to both sides in the local conflict.