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Russia Mediates to End Siege on Kurdish Neighborhoods in Aleppo

Russia Mediates to End Siege on Kurdish Neighborhoods in Aleppo

Saturday, 16 April, 2022 - 08:00
A security region in al-Hasaka (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Russia is mediating in the crisis between the Autonomous Administration and the Syrian government, aiming to lift the siege on Kurdish neighborhoods in the northern province of Aleppo and Qamishli, according to Kurdish sources.

An official said that the government is now in control of the departments operated by the Internal Security Forces (Asayish) in Qamishli.

An informed Kurdish source said that the commander of the Russian forces at the Hmeimim base held meetings in Qamishli between representatives of the Autonomous Administration and government officials as part of efforts to lift the blockade on the Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafieh neighborhoods in Aleppo.

The agreement stipulated that the government forces allow the entry of foodstuffs, fuel, medicine, and other needs of civilians into the Kurdish neighborhoods of Aleppo. In return, Asayish troops will hand over the Baath automatic oven, remove roadblocks, open the Qamishli Airport road, and ensure that each side returns to the agreed lines of contact.

He pointed out the preliminary agreement between the two sides may enter into force soon.

The Asayish measures in Qamishli intend to pressure the Syrian government to expel the 4th Division, led by Maher al-Assad, who is the President’s brother, from the Ashrafieh, Sheikh Maqsoud, and al-Shahba neighborhoods, according to the source.

The source stressed that if the government does not respond to the Russian mediation, Hasaka will face the same fate as Qamishli, ruling out the possibility of a military confrontation between the two sides.

Asharq al-Awsat’s reporter witnessed the withdrawal of the Asayish forces from the Grand Serail in Qamishli, the Baath Party headquarters, and the rural and city divisions.

However, they continue to besiege the security services buildings, and, for the first time in years, established temporary barriers at the entrances and exits of the roads leading to them.

The spokesman for the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, Luqman Ahmi, said that the siege imposed on the Kurdish neighborhoods of Aleppo is a "war crime."

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that the administration responded to all mediation efforts and wanted to lift the siege peacefully, but those efforts did not yield any results.

Ahmi stressed that the government adopted this "blockade policy" on other Syrian cities and towns, aiming to subjugate the residents.

The Syrian government claims to represent all the Syrian people and sovereignty, said Ahmi, saying its policy of starving its people did not yield any results and instead created more rejection of the regime.

The spokesman reiterated that the only way to solve the Syrian crisis and its issues is through dialogue between all sides to reach a peaceful political solution that meets the goals and aspirations of the Syrian people.

Meanwhile, the people and the displaced persons of Afrin organized a mass demonstration on the highway leading to the center of Aleppo, denouncing the practices of the Syrian government.

The protesters demanded the lifting of the blockade imposed on the Kurdish neighborhoods, ensuring the freedom of movement of individuals, and the entry of foodstuffs, medicine, fuel, and flour into the area.

They also carried banners calling for removing the Fourth Division's barriers from all roads leading to Sheikh Maqsoud, Ashrafieh, and al-Shahba.

The Fourth Division has imposed significant royalties on cars carrying vegetables that enter the Kurdish neighborhoods of Aleppo since mid-March.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by the US-led international coalition, controls most of the cities and towns of al-Hasaka governorate, but the government forces maintain two security areas in the centers of al-Hasaka and Qamishli.

The SDF controls the Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafieh neighborhoods inside Aleppo city.

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