First Published: 2013-07-21

 

Abduction on basis of identity rages between Kurds and jihadists in Syria

 

Islamists battling Kurdish fighters in northern Syrian town release 300 Kurdish civilians they were holding prisoner in exchange for rebel chief.

 

Middle East Online

By Serene Assir – BEIRUT

War within war

Islamists battling Kurdish fighters in the northern Syrian town of Tal Abyad have released 300 Kurdish civilians they were holding prisoner in exchange for a rebel chief, a watchdog said Sunday.

"The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) released 300 Kurds who had been taken prisoner overnight and this morning, in exchange for captured (jihadist) commander Abu Musab," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Imprisoned by Kurdish fighters late on Saturday, Abu Musab was reportedly released on Sunday.

But tension in Tal Abyad was still palpable even after the prisoners' release, an activist said.

"Things are calm right now, but I think we'll see new clashes by nightfall. Kurdish fighters have deployed snipers," the activist said by phone on condition of anonymity.

Abu Musab and hundreds of Kurdish civilians were detained in the latest confrontation between jihadists and Kurds in northern Syria.

"We've lived through a small civil war over the past few hours," said the activist, who asked not to be named for security reasons.

"After Abu Musab was detained, ISIS deployed a large number of snipers and fighters. There have been clashes since last night, and unfortunately there were abuses by all sides," said the activist.

"Many families fled the violence. Tal Abyad is a ghost city. There is now an ethnic-based hatred against the Kurds, though the truth is Kurds and Arabs, Christians and Muslims have always lived here together," he added.

The violence comes just days after fighters loyal to the Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People (YPG) expelled Al-Nusra Front and ISIS members from the strategic Kurdish town of Ras al-Ain in Hasake province.

According to Nasser al-Hajj Mansour, a Kurdish official, the Kurds were imprisoned "on the basis of ethnicity".

"What is clear is that there is a will to sow strife," Mansour said by telephone, adding that the violence is likely to escalate.

Kurdish regions have been run by local Kurdish councils since President Bashar al-Assad's forces withdrew from the areas in mid-2012. The Kurds have walked a fine line, trying to avoid antagonising either the regime or the rebels.

But this week alone, more than 50 jihadist and Kurdish fighters were killed in fighting in northern Syria, according to a toll released Saturday by the Britain-based Observatory, which relies on activists and medics on the ground for its information.

Kurds represent about 15 percent of the Syrian population.

 

UAE warns Qatar to take neighbours' demands 'seriously'

Russia warships, submarine strike IS targets in Syria

Civilians killed in Iraq suicide bomb attacks

Morocco dismantles 'IS-linked cell plotting tourist attacks'

Prime time for Ramadan on Gulf fashion calendar

UN warns Yemen cholera outbreak could infect 300,000 by September

Putin launches deep-water phase of TurkStream pipeline

Berlin warns Ankara against meddling in religious affairs

Asian states downplay 'Russia proposal' to send troops to Syria

Iran’s Salehi urges West to save historic nuclear deal

Iran, allies mark Jerusalem Day with rallies

US-led Syria strikes kill 472 civilians in one month

France sets out tough new anti-terror law

Trump-Saudi ties help pave way for new Saudi crown prince

Makeshift clinic saves lives near Syria’s Raqa

Egyptian fuel helps restart Gaza power station

Rights groups say Morocco protest leader 'severely beaten' during arrest

5 killed in Mogadishu car bomb attack

UN experts urge Egypt to halt executions after 'flawed trials'

Qatar emir congratulates newly-appointed Saudi crown prince

Kushner hails 'productive' Palestine-Israel talks

Macron says removing Assad no longer priority in Syria

Turkey sends first aid ship to isolated ally Qatar

Iraq PM says IS admitting defeat in Mosul

Egypt delivers fuel to ease Gaza electricity shortage

Saudi Arabia named after ruling dynasty

Turkey detains catering boss after army food poisoning

Israel says will unleash 'unimaginable power' in future Lebanon war

Brussels nail bomber identified as Moroccan

Saudi stock market bullish on new heir

Lebanon's Salame to be new UN Libya envoy

New Saudi heir is king's agent of change

Turkish President accused of influencing courts

Mohammed bin Salman named Saudi crown prince

Algeria leader drops Panama Papers libel suit vs Le Monde

Morocco detains three as Rif protests continue

Israel starts work on new settlements amid Trump 'peace' push

At least 10 dead in Mogadishu suicide attack

Iraq forces advance in Mosul Old City

Yemen cholera death toll passes 1,100

Iran-made drone shot down by US plane in Syria

Raqa’s own battle to liberate hometown from IS rule

Saudi, Iraq hail 'qualitative leap' in relations

French journalist killed in Mosul

Iran protests against Tillerson 'transition' comments