Regime, Kurds agree to truce in Syria northeast

Syrian regime officials and Kurdish representatives are to meet today for a second day of talks on ending deadly clashes in the northeastern city of Qamishli

Regime, Kurds agree to truce in Syria northeast

World Bulletin / News Desk

Kurdish fighters and Syrian government representatives agreed on Friday to an indefinite ceasefire after three days of clashes in the northeastern city of Qamishli, Kurdish security forces said.

The fighting in the mainly Kurdish city began on Wednesday with a scuffle at a checkpoint and was a rare outbreak of violence between the two sides.

On Friday, government officials and Kurdish security forces met in Qamishli's airport to negotiate an end to the fighting.

They agreed to an indefinite truce as talks continue to find a permanent settlement to the dispute, according to a statement by the Kurdish police force, known as the Asayish.

"We will be committed to the truce until an appropriate solution is found and the regime stops its terrorist practices," the statement said.

The statement said 17 civilians, 10 Kurdish fighters, and 31 regime forces had been killed in the three days of clashes.

"I received orders to stop firing, but not to leave my position," one Kurdish fighter in Qamishli told AFP.

Carol, a resident of the government-controlled Wusta neighbourhood, said fighting had quieted since the high-level meeting between the regime and Kurds began in the airport.

"There's no one walking in the streets –- it's like there's an unofficial curfew," she told AFP.

 Civilians flee  

The meeting in Qamishli airport saw Syrian government representatives fly in from Damascus, a senior security official told AFP earlier on Friday.

"The aim of the meeting is to calm the situation in Qamishli and put an end to the clashes," he said.

The army and its militia ally, the National Defence Forces, control Qamishli airport and parts of the city, as well as parts of the provincial capital Hasakeh to the south.

Nearly all of the rest of the province is controlled by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), who have declared an autonomous region across the mainly Kurdish northern areas they control.

That decision has angered Damascus as well as the opposition.

Kurdish authorities have declared zones of "autonomous administration" across parts of north and northeast Syria.

Syrian troops and seasoned Kurdish fighters have coordinated on security in Hasakeh province where ISIL fighters have tried to advance, but tensions have built up between the sometimes-rival authorities.

Kurdish commander Jalnak Qamishlu told AFP his units had been evacuating civilians from areas hit by the fighting.

An AFP correspondent saw a woman in a long black robe clutching several bags full of her belongings scamper down a street as a military vehicle screeched by.

Kurdish fighter Ali Askar voiced defiance.

"We will not allow the National Defence Forces or the army to advance and take control of any part of our city," he said.

The YPG is regarded by the Pentagon as the most effective fighting force on the ground in Syria against IS.

Washington has defied angry complaints from NATO ally Ankara to provide military support to the Kurdish militia, which Turkish officials regard as an arm of the outlawed rebel Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).


Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Nisan 2016, 12:01