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Al-Qamishli: Heavy fighting between PYD and regime

KurdWatch, April 28, 2016—On April 20, 2016, fighters for the National Defense Army, which is loyal to the regime, opened fire on a vehicle of the Asayiş in the city center of al‑Qamishli, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD). The city center is controlled by the regime and according to KurdWatch information the Asayiş car had ignored a defense army checkpoint. Two Asayiş employees died instantly and a third was seriously injured. The Asayiş and the People’s Defense Army (YPG) of the PYD subsequently attacked a security zone controlled by the regime, a large‑scale bakery in the city center and a prison east of the city. On April 21, the PYD took control of both the bakery and the prison. Both had been under control of the regime although they were in a PYD‑controlled area. In the prison more than fifty police officers gave themselves over to the PYD. According to a statement by the Kurdish National Council in Syria, both sides are said to have used heavy artillery inside the city. According to information given by the YPG, seventeen civilians, three members of the Asayiş and ten YPG fighters were killed. On the side of the regime, thirty‑one people are thought to have died.

Since April 22, the situation has improved. Muhammad al‑Faris, tribal leader of the Arabic Tai and local commander of the National Defense Army, said in an interview on April 23 with the Iraqi-Kurdish TV station Rûdaw, high‑ranking representatives of the regime are said to have met with representatives of the PYD at the al‑Qamishli airport and negotiated a ceasefire. Moreover, he called the YPG and the Defense Army »brothers in arms«, who will continue to fight together against the common enemy. The Syrian Army, according to al‑Faris, considers the YPG as an extension of itself. According to an explanation given by the Asayiş the ceasefire applies until there is a definitive solution to the problem.  

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