Syrian forces, Kurdish YPG agree to Hasaka ceasefire

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Syrian government forces and Kurdish fighters
have agreed to halt fighting in the northeastern city
of Hasaka,
according to state media.
The reported ceasefire came into effect at 2pm
(11am GMT) on Tuesday, and follows a major
assault by the Kurdish YPG group to capture the
last government-controlled areas of the city.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human
Rights, a UK-based organisation that tracks daily
developments in Syria, the YPG has gained control
of nearly all of Hasaka.
Under the truce, the Syrian government troops will
be be allowed to leave Hasaka but they will still
remain a presence on the outskirts of the city.

A report from
Gaziantep on the Turkish side of the border with
Syria, described the ceasefire as fragile, citing the
collapse of a similar reported truce in recent days.
“The terms of the truce state that the Syrian army
will pull out of the city, but they can easily re-
deploy to military bases around Hasaka,” said
Ahelbarra.
Kurdish fighters are also expected to pull out as
part of the truce, our correspondent said, adding
that the security of the city was going to be
handed over to the Asayish, a YPG-affiliated police
force.
“The ceasefire looks like a quick fix, an attempt to
defuse tension, rather than trying to find a long-
term solution to the crisis in Hasaka,” said
Ahelbarra.
“The same truce, with similar terms, was agreed
two days ago, but hours later, the deal collapsed,”
said Ahelbarra, who added that there was no
mention of the latest reported ceasefire on Kurdish
media.

The fighting in Hasaka, which was divided into
zones of Kurdish and Syrian government control,
marks the most violent confrontation between the
Kurdish YPG and the Syrian army in more than five
years of civil war.
Goverment fighter jets last week bombed YPG
positions in Hasaka for the first time during the
war, prompting a US-led coalition to scramble
aircraft to protect American special operations
forces on the ground in the area.
The YPG, or the People’s Protection Units, had
earlier captured Ghwairan, the only major Arab
neighbourhood in Hasaka still in government
hands.
The YPG is at the heart of a US-led campaign
against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
(ISIL, also known as ISIS) group in Syria.
It controls swaths of territory along the
northeastern border with Turkey – from Hasaka to
Afrin – which its political wing has claimed as an
autonomous region now called Rojava.

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