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.

 

Iraqi Kurds may postpone referendum in return for concessions

Assad says no Syria ties for countries backing rebels

Rouhani says top priority is protecting nuclear deal from US

Iraqi-Arab Gulf rapprochement makes headway

In Egypt, Syrian refugees recreate Syria

In African tour, Sisi seeks to rebuild ties, address security and water concerns

Syria’s transition scenarios for future rounds of talks

Dubai real estate market sets the pace for renewed growth in the GCC

German-Turkish intellectual held at Ankara’s request

Jordan’s municipal elections marred by deaths, riots

Russia doubts IS claim of stabbing attack in northern city

Turkey slams 'arrogant' German reaction to Erdogan poll call

Police confirm Finland 'terror attack'

Spain hunts suspects as IS claims attack

Aid project helps Syria refugees feel at home in Jordan

Lebanese army launches anti-IS offensive on Syria border

UN demands access to Yemen ports

Low-cost attacks a new reality for Europeans

Forces of Libya's Haftar say commander wanted by ICC in detention

Yemen rebels urged to free political commentator

Iranian footballer breaks silence over ban for playing Israelis

Erdogan meddles in German politics

IS fighters almost encircled in Syrian desert

For Israel, White House ties trump neo-Nazis and antisemitism

Israel freezes implementation of settlement law

Saudi Arabia installing cranes at Yemen ports

13 dead, 100 injured in two Spanish seaside city attacks

Iran reform leader ends hunger strike

Van ploughs through pedestrians in Barcelona terror attack

13 killed in Barcelona van attack

Iraq acknowledges abuses in Mosul campaign

Netanyahu under fire for response to US neo-Nazism

Israel to free high-profile suspects in money laundering probe

Spanish police shut down jet-ski migrant smugglers

Syrian actress, activist Fadwa Suleiman dies in Paris

Israeli court extends detention for Islamic cleric over ‘incitement’

UAE to provide $15 million a month to Gaza

Sudan's Bashir 'satisfied' with Nile dam project

US-backed rebels say American presence in Syria to last ‘decades’

Tunisian clerics oppose equal inheritance rights for women

Israel strikes almost 100 Hezbollah arms convoys in 5 years

UN hopes for eighth round of Syria talks before year’s end

LONG READ: How Syria continues to evade chemical weapons justice

Civilians killed in US-led raids on Raqa

Qatari pilgrims begin flooding into Saudi by land