Kurds ‘gain ground in Syria’s Hasakah’ in ISIS fightback

Kurdish fighters during clashes with ISIS on the outskirts of the Syrian city of Hasakah. (File photo: AFP)

Kurdish militia have expanded their control over portions of a major Syrian city in their fightback against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), to the detriment of government forces there, a monitor said Saturday.

“The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) are advancing in Hasakah city against ISIS and at the expense of the regime,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The YPG and government forces have both been defending the city from an ISIS assault, which began last month.

The Britain-based Observatory said the YPG now controls a majority of the metropolis, despite Kurds making up just under a third of its population.

“The YPG control 70 percent of Hasakah city, ISIS controls 10 percent and the regime controls 20 percent,” Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Before the ISIS began its offensive by seizing territory in southern neighborhoods from regime forces, the Kurdish militia controlled less than half of Hasakah.

When the YPG pushed the militants out of some of these areas, they maintained control of them.

The YPG also directly expanded into areas held by loyalists in the city center, although it did not engage in clashes with them.

The militia now hold territory in Hasakah north, west, center and south, said Abdel Rahman, with ISIS left “surrounded” in four small neighborhoods in the south.

More than 230,000 people have been killed in Syria since anti-government protests erupted in March 2011 before degenerating into civil war.

Last Update: 10:56 KSA 13:56 - GMT 10:56