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Calm Returns to Qamishli after Tension between Regime, Kurdish Forces

Calm Returns to Qamishli after Tension between Regime, Kurdish Forces

Thursday, 7 January, 2021 - 08:45
Statue of Basel al-Assad, brother of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in Qamishli (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Tensions have eased in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishili after Russian forces intervened following clashes between pro-regime and Kurdish forces.

The Russian forces, deployed in the vicinity of the city's airport, brokered an agreement to release all detainees and end the fighting.

Qamishli is controlled by various forces. The regime maintains a security zone inside the city along the international airport, while the Kurdish Autonomous Administration controls the Qamishli region.

Locals reported tension on Monday between the regime and the Kurdish Asayish forces against the backdrop of mutual arrests.

Military forces were seen on high alert and deployed along separation lines, including Qaddour Beik, al-Jisr al-Jadid, and the western part of the security zone.

Asaad, 45, who works in a pastry shop in Qamishli, said tensions prevailed in the area and there was an unusual heavy deployment of military units, noting that many streets and neighborhoods were closed.

He also reported that security forces asked civilians and residents to avoid the central market area.

Kurdish security sources said that the tension grew after the Syrian regime detained one of their members. The Kurds responded by arresting Syrian troops after they refused mediations to release the detainees.

The Russian military police repeatedly intervene to maintain stability in the city.

In December, tensions renewed after mutual arrests between the Asayish and the regime forces, but Moscow succeeded in releasing all detainees.

Earlier, three officers and a brigadier general of the General Air Force Intelligence Service at the airport were arrested, which led to tensions in the area.

In response, the General Air Force Intelligence arrested a number of civilians and employees of the Autonomous Administration on charges of failing to perform compulsory government service.

As a result, military forces were deployed at the junction leading to the airport and at the entrances to al-Tayy and Halko neighborhoods.

They also established checkpoints near the exits of the security zone, amid warnings for residents to stay away from the checkpoints and windows.

Medical sources said that four members of the regime forces were injured.

Zainab, a resident of the security zone, said the area falls under the control of regime troops. However, the Autonomous Administration controls everything.

The Arab Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by Washington, control most of the city and its commercial center. They are based in government departments and institutions. Whereas the regime forces, including the Moscow-backed National Defense forces, control the security zone, Qamishli airport, and the regiment 137.

In addition, the Sutoro forces control the Christian neighborhoods in the city. The militias are divided in their affiliations, with some belonging to the Kurds and others to the regime.

Each military force determined its areas of control with earth mounds, sand bags, and checkpoints.

Civilians move easily from one neighborhood to another without inspections or identity papers. Vehicles with Autonomous Administration plates enter regime areas and streets under the control of the Sutoro Forces without any trouble. In return, regime members and their vehicles roam freely in the rest of the city.

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