Afrin, Aleppo, Syria− The fighters of the al-Qaeda affiliated group of the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (ISIS) opened a new front against Kurds in the countryside of Afrin four days ago, specifically in the village of Qustul Jendo between the cities of Afrin and Azaz.
In Qustul Jendo, where the Yazidi religious group form the majority of population, fierce clashes took place between the ISIS fighters and members of the Kurdish Popular Protection Units (YPG), a YPG member told ARA News on Wednesday.
“While the continuous clashes between our forces and the Islamic groups in Jinderis village were suspended with the increasing fight near Qustul Jendo,” YPG member said.
As mosques in the city of Afrin called on people to donate blood for the wounded, vehicles of the Popular Protection Units (YPG) −armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD)− were roaming the city, demanding the residents to carry arms and join the ranks of the YPG to defend “land and honour“.
Meanwhile, the hospital of Afrin received on Tuesday more than a dozen of bodies of the YPG fighters who were killed during the recent clashes in Qustul Jendo, while many were injured, according to a medical source in the hospital.
In a linked context, an informed source close to the YPG told ARA News on Thursday that soldiers from the pro-Assad army showed willingness to fight alongside the YPG forces against the Islamic groups in the area. The same pro-Assad soldiers who were based in the Minnigh military airport near Aleppo are expected to back the YPG against ISIS near Afrin.
The source confirmed that those soldiers fled after the Minnigh military airport was besieged by the opposition’s Free Syrian Army (FSA) for more than 10 months, adding that some of these pro-Assad soldiers have already started fighting side by side with the YPG against the Islamists.
“Some of those soldiers surrendered to the YPG, while more than a hundred soldiers apparently did not defect the Assad regime but still agreed to support the YPG against the ‘mutual enemy’, or Islamic groups,”the source told ARA News. “Those pro-Assad soldiers arrived in the main strongholds of the YPG in Afrin, accompanied by tanks and heavy weapons.”
Kurdish activists in Afrin said that some of the Assad army forces are currently based in the Nubbul town (a Shiite town, 25 km north of Aleppo).
The Dunya TV, a news television known for its loyalty to the regime, said on Wednesday that the Kurdish forces of the Popular Protection Units (YPG) helped the pro-regime soldiers who were besieged at the airport of Minnigh.
However, the General Command of the YPG issued a statement saying that “a group of the Syrian regime’s soldiers fled the airport of Minnigh, nearly 70 members with two tanks, and they have been captured in an ambush by our units”, stressing that “they will be handled as prisoners of war” and “treated according to international laws”.
In a linked development, a leading member in the FSA-linked Brigade of Asifat al-Shamal denied the news published by the media of the Democratic Union Party (PYD)−the political leadership of the YPG− which said that the Brigade (Asifat al-Shamal) withdrew from the city of Azaz, near Aleppo, after Islamists of ISIS took over the city.
Report by: Jiwan Afrini
Source: ARA News
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