Syrian Kurdish-led forces withdraw from regime zones in Qamishli
Syrian Kurdish-led forces withdrew on Thursday from regime buildings in the northeastern city of Qamishli for fear of Turkish intervention, according to reports.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Asayish – the police force of the Kurdish-controlled autonomous regions in north and east Syria – took control of the regime-held zones in the centre of the city on Thursday morning, before withdrawing the following evening, The New Arab’s Arabic language sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.
Syrian regime ally Russia – who has been leading negotiations between the two sides - reportedly pressured the SDF to leave, warning that their continued presence in regime-controlled parts of the city could provoke Turkish-backed rebels to invade the area, German news agency DPA reported.
However, sources told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the Kurdish-led forces are still imposing a siege on the regime’s political security, military security and state security branches in the area.
“[We] will continue these security measures on the security square in Qamishli until the siege on our people in the Sheikh Maqsoud neighbourhood is lifted,” the Asayish forces said in a statement.
The regime has held back goods from reaching the besieged, Kurdish-majority neighbourhood of Sheikh Maqsoud - located in Syria's largest city, Aleppo - “in an attempt to exert political pressures on the SDF”, according to Mohammad Abdul Sattar Ibrahim, a Syrian analyst in touch with Kurdish officials, Reuters reported.
However, the governor of Hasaka province, where Qamishli is located, has also accused the SDF of “preventing entry of wheat, foodstuffs and fuel” to other areas held by the regime in the province.
The SDF said on Thursday they took over about 10 regime offices including local finance, grains and education branches in the heart of Qamishli.
Much of Syria has been left in ruins following over a decade of conflict, which has killed over 500,000 people, mostly as a result of regime and Russian bombardment.
The country remains deeply fractured, with various foreign armies and militias in control of different regions.