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Jihadists hold 200 Syrian Kurds hostage, NGO says

Published: Updated:

An al-Qaeda-linked group took around 200 Kurdish civilians after violent clashes with Kurdish fighters in Syria, a monitoring group said on Wednesday.

“Fighters of Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) have seized control of Tall Aren village in Aleppo province and are laying siege to another village nearby, Tall Hassel. They have taken hostage around 200 civilians from the inhabitants of the two villages,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which collects data from medics and activists on the ground.

“They have taken hostage around 200 civilians from the inhabitants of the two villages.”

The main Kurdish militia called on Tuesday for battling jihadists after a Kurdish leader was killed following weeks of clashes between the Kurds and radical Islamists.

“We call on the Kurdish people... to step forward... anyone fit to bear arms should join the ranks of the Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People (YPG) and to face the assaults of these [jihadist] armed groups,” said a YPG statement.

Isa Huso, a well-known Kurdish politician, was killed near his place of residence in Qamishli.

“Despite our repeated calls to the National Coalition and the Free Syrian Army command... to date these parties have failed to take a clear position” against the radicals, the YPG statement said.

It said it was clear that FSA battalions, Al-Nusra Front and ISIS in particular, were coordinating with jihadist groups, adding that these groups and the FSA “have become one side in attacking the Kurdish people.”

Damascus has marginalized the Kurds for decades, and their fighters are now trying to make sure that neither regime forces nor the armed opposition takes control of their areas.

(With AFP)