Syria army pushes ISIS back from Hasaka

Syrian pro-government fighters flashing the sign for victory at a hilltop in the Qalamoun region on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus on June 6, 2015. (AFP)

Syrian government forces have pushed ISIS fighters back after a bid by militants to enter the city of Hasaka in northeastern Syria, a monitor said on Sunday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said "fierce combat" had allowed government forces to push ISIS fighters away from the southern edge of Hasaka, the capital of the province of the same name.

"ISIS, which has been at the southern entrance of the city since Thursday, was forced to pull back two kilometres after fierce combat with regime forces," the Britain-based monitor said.

Syria's official SANA news agency also reported the fighting, saying the army had retaken several positions captured by ISIS in recent days, including an electricity station and a prison being used as a military base.

The Observatory said fighting was now continuing in the area near the prison.

ISIS began an assault on Hasaka on May 30, advancing to the southern entrance to the city last week.

Control of Hasaka city is shared between government forces and Kurdish fighters, who did not initially enter into combat against ISIS.

But the Observatory said Kurdish forces began fighting ISIS on the outskirts of the areas under their control in the west of the city on Saturday night.

"The Kurdish involvement comes after criticism from figures in the town" about their lack of participation, Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.

"There were several meetings at which the Kurds were urged to participate in the defence of the city, and they agreed after a decision that they would be recognised as a primary combat force in the city," he added.

Syria's Kurds have walked a careful line in the country's conflict, declining to join the uprising directly, but also not fighting alongside the regime.

In Hasaka, they share control of the city's security with regime forces, but the arrangement has been tense at times with skirmishes breaking out occasionally.

The ISIS assault on Hasaka that began on May 30 has so far left at least 119 dead, among them 71 regime forces and 48 ISIS fighters, including 11 suicide bombers.

SHOW MORE
Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44
Top