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Raʾs al-ʿAyn: YPG captures large territories

KURDWATCH, June 10, 2015—Between May 19 and 31, 2015, the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) were able to take large territories west of Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê) from the Islamic State (IS). On 25. May, IS‑fighters were expelled from Tall Abu Shaikhat (forty kilometers southwest of Raʾsal‑ʿAyn), and the city of al‑Mabruka (thirty kilometers southwest of Raʾsal‑ʿAyn) was captured. The twenty-kilometer-wide swath of territory between al‑Mabruka and Nuss Tall (fifty kilometers southeast of Tall Abyad) is now also under YPG control. According to the PYD‑affiliated website HAWARNEWS, numerous IS‑fighters were killed during the capture of al‑Mabruka. However, images that could confirm this statement have not been released. The extent to which fighting between the YPG and IS even took place and the actual strength of the IS in the aforementioned territories remain unclear. The territory captured by the YPG is relatively sparsely populated. For the YPG controlling this territory is significant as it is part of the region that separates the Jazirah and ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî) from one another. The YPG is reportedly planning the capture of these territories, including the city of Tal Abyad, in order to connect the cantons of Jazirah and Kobanî, which were established by the YPG [further information]. Arab activists are accusing the YPG of conducting ethnic cleansing in the aforementioned territories. According to information obtained by KurdWatch, residents of Arab villages were, in fact, called upon to leave their homes. The YPG justifies this with the fact that these villages are located in a »restricted military area«.

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