Rojava–Syrian government relations

YPG-Syrian government conflict
Part of the Rojava conflict
LocationMainly al-Qamishli and al-Hasakah, Syria
Status Ongoing

Rojava Rojava

Supported by:
Syriac Union Party[1]

Syria Syrian Arab Republic


Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown

While conflict between the Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) and Syrian government during the Syrian Civil War has not been as active as fighting against the armed militias, there have been several conflicts between the two forces.

There has also been cooperation between the Syrian Democratic Forces and the government and its Russian ally against Turkey-backed rebel forces during the Northern Aleppo offensive. This has included Russian air support for advancing YPG forces,[5] Syrian government dependence (during the Battle of Aleppo) on YPG forces to cut off all the rebels' northern supply routes from Turkey[6] and YPG forces moving in to hold some areas taken by the Syrian government around Aleppo.[7] Such Syrian government-YPG/PYD cooperation has been described by The Economist as a "tacit alliance".[7] In July 2016, Constituent Assembly co-chair Hediya Yousef formulated Rojava's approach towards Syria as follows:[8]

We believe that a federal system is ideal form of governance for Syria. We see that in many parts of the world, a federal framework enables people to live peacefully and freely within territorial borders. The people of Syria can also live freely in Syria. We will not allow for Syria to be divided; all we want is the democratization of Syria; its citizens must live in peace, and enjoy and cherish the ethnic diversity of the national groups inhabiting the country.


On September 6, 2012 Kurdish activists reported that 21 civilians were killed in the Kurdish neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsud in Aleppo, when the Syrian army shelled the local mosque and its surroundings. Despite the district being neutral during the Battle of Aleppo and free of government and FSA clashes, local residents believed that the district was shelled as retaliation for sheltering anti-government civilians from other parts of the city. In a statement released shortly after the deaths, the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) vowed to retaliate.[9] A few days later, Kurdish forces killed 3 soldiers in Afrin (Kurdish: Efrîn) and captured a number of other government soldiers in Kobani and Al-Malikiyah (Kurdish: Dêrika Hemko) from where they drove the remaining government security forces out. It was also reported that the government had begun to arm Arab tribes around Qamishli in preparation for a possible confrontation with Kurdish forces, who still did not completely control the city.[10]

At least 8 government soldiers were killed and 15 wounded by a car bomb in the al-Gharibi district of Qamishli on 30 September 2012. The explosion targeted the Political Security branch.[11]

The YPG claimed to have killed 376 Syrian government soldiers and captured 790 in 2013.[12]

On 2 January 2013, a bomb was detonated by unknown assailants in front of a Syrian government security office in Qamishli, wounding four members of the local security forces.[13]

In mid-January, as clashes re-erupted between rebels and Kurdish separatists in Ras al-Ayn, YPG forces moved to expel government forces from oil-rich areas in Hasakah Province.[14] Clashes broke out from 14 to 19 January[15] between the army and YPG fighters in the Kurdish village of Gir Zîro (Tall Adas), near al-Maabadah (Kurdish: Girkê Legê), where an army battalion of around 200 soldiers had been blockaded[16] since 9 January.[15] YPG forces claimed to have expelled government after the clashes.[14] One soldier was reportedly killed and another eight injured, while seven were captured (later released[15]) and 27 defected.[16] Fighting at the oil field near Gir Zîro ended on 21 January, when government forces withdrew after receiving no assistance from Damascus.[17] In Rumeilan, directly west of al-Maabadah, another 200 soldiers had been surrounded by YPG forces, and 10 soldiers were reported to have defected.[14]

From 8 to 11 February,[18] heavy clashes broke out between the YPG and government troops in the PYD/YPG-held district Ashrafiyah where, according to SOHR, at least 3 soldiers and 5 pro-government militiamen were killed. The fighting followed deadly shelling on 31 January on Ashrafiyah, in which 23[19] civilians were killed after FSA units moved into the Kurdish sector of Aleppo.[20] According to its own reports, the YPG lost 7 of its members the fighting, while also claiming that 48 soldiers were killed and 22 captured,[19] and a further 70[21] injured.

On 26 February, the Syrian army once again shelled the PYD-held Kurdish sector of Aleppo, causing extensive damage to civilian areas. Five people were killed in the bombardment, and eleven more—including four children—were injured.[19]

In the beginning of March, YPG forces took complete control of oil fields and installations in north-east Syria after government forces in it surrendered. During the same time YPG assaulted government forces and took control of town Tall ʿAdas, which is adjacent to Rumeilan oil fields, and also took control of Al-Qahtaniya (Kurdish: Tirbespî).[22]

On 14 April 2013, government warplanes bombed the predominantly Kurdish village of Hadad, in Hasakah Governorate. 16 people were reported killed.[23]

On December 31, 2013, as YPG units were locked in large-scale and bloody fighting around the jihadist stronghold of Tall Hamis, Kurdish sources reported that government forces simultaneously attacked a YPG checkpoint in the Hasakah neighbourhood of Kallasah and an Asayish checkpoint in nearby Tall Hajar neighbourhood. The sources claimed that seven soldiers were killed by the YPG and Asayish as they counterattacked and secured both areas, while one YPG fighter lost his life and two Asayish members were wounded; civilian deaths and injuries were also reported. Government forces soon retreated, and a tense calm had returned to the city by the following day.[24][25]

On March 31, 2014, Kurdish sources claimed that members of the pro-government National Defence Force shot a YPG fighter in Qamishli city. The YPG responded by launching an operation in the Qadour Bek district of Qamishli, killing seven pro-government fighters and detaining 10 others. It was also reported that the YPG captured parts of the Qadour Bek district, including the Customs Building and the Qamishli's Bread Factory.[26]

On March 27, SOHR reported that the Syrian army shelled the Kurdish-held neighbourhood of al-Msheirfah in Hasakah city.[27] The Syrian Kurdish news agency ANHA, citing a YPG source, stated that the attack began at 11:30 AM, and that mortar shells fired by the army struck the YPG's "Martyr Shiyar" office and a cotton mill, causing material damage.[28] This incident occurred while the YPG was fighting off an ISIS attack against the town of Jaz'ah near Ya'rubiyah.[29]

On April 5, 2014, according to the SOHR, the leader of the NDF center in Hasakah was killed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Al-Shadadi, south of Hasakah.[30]

On June 28, 2014, Syrian government forces, backed by the NDF, took control of five villages after clashes with ISIS and allied tribes near Qamishli. Government forces bombarded ISIS strongholds in the area.[31]

In October 2014, the Syrian state media claimed the government had sent arms to Kurdish forces during the Siege of Kobanî, but this claim was disputed by the PYD.[32]

Throughout most of 2015, the YPG was grudgingly accepting of SAA/NDF presence in Al-Hasakah city, letting them take the brunt of casualties in several battles with ISIL. De facto cooperation ensued between local YPG and SAA/NDF units against ISIL, though tensions were high there were several clashes throughout the year.

In January 2015, the YPG clashed with Syrian government forces in Al-Hasakah city.[33]

In April 2015, Syrian minister Ali Haidar reportedly met with Kurdish officials in Rojava, and conducted talks regarding some degree of de-jure autonomy for the region,[34] in spite of Rojava already being de facto autonomous from the government. He also claimed the government was providing military assistance to Kurdish forces.[35]

In June 2015, the YPG and Asayish forces again clashed with the government in Qamishli, capturing several institutions.[36]

In July 2015, YPG and government forces cooperated against ISIS during the Battle of Al-Hasakah.[37]

In July 2015, PYD leader Salih Muslim announced that the YPG was willing to join the Syrian army if the government committed to official decentralization of powers.[38]

On August 4, 2015, the YPG laid out terms for collaboration with the Syrian government.[39]

On August 9, 2015, in response to allegations of collaboration with the government, a YPG spokesman issued a statement that the YPG will "collaborate with anyone to expel extremists" from northeastern Syria.[40]

On September 16, 2015, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad announced that Syria was open to decentralization proposals after the conflict between the government and opposition groups was over.[41]

On October 9, 2015, PYD officials reportedly held talks with representatives of the Syrian government and the Russian military in Damascus and Latakia about a joint effort against ISIS.[42]

On December 7, 2015, Assad affirmed that his government had supplied arms to the PYD, and said he had documents to verify his claim.[43]

On December 16, 2015, the Asayish had a minor clash with Syrian National Defence Forces in Qamishli after the arrest of Asayish members by the NDF.[44]

On December 19, 2015, the YPG and allied groups signed a truce with the Fatah Halab rebel operations room in Aleppo. This was quickly followed by a peace with the Mare' Operations Room. This marked a deterioration in relations between the YPG and the Syrian government.[45][46]

On December 23, 2015, Syrian National Defence Forces launched an attack on YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces in Al-Hasakah, resulting in 4 injured SDF fighters and 1 dead NDF militant.[47] The same day, Syrian military helicopters dropped barrel bombs on the YPG-controlled neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsoud in Aleppo.[48] Russia also announced that it would in the future only provide assistance to the YPG through the Syrian government.[49]

On January 13, 2016, the Asayish attacked the government-backed Sootoro militia's checkpoints in Qamishli, resulting in the death of one Sootoro militant,[50] although the militias reconciled on January 18.[51]

On January 31, 2016, the Syrian Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar Jaafari ruled out autonomy or federalism for Kurdish areas in Syria.[52]

On February 15, 2016, the Syrian government condemned Turkey's shelling of Kurdish forces in the border region in a letter to the UN Security Council.[53]

On March 16, 2016, PYD-linked Asayish forces reportedly surrounded an NDF controlled position in Qamishli. Details are currently unclear.[54]

In late April 2016, Asayish forces clashed with the National Defence Forces loyal to Syrian Government in Qamishli, resulting in the Qamishli clashes (April 2016). The YPG also got involved. During three days of clashes, 16 YPG/Asayish fighters and 23 civilians were killed; NDF casualties were 22-31 killed and 80-102 captured. The YPG seized three positions from the government in Qamishli, including the prison. NDF and Sootoro reversed some of Asayish's gains and captured two checkpoints, a stadium, and a hospital in the city. On April 22, both sides agreed on a tentative truce, and territory taken by the Kurdish forces was taken back by government.

On 11 August 2016 the Asayish released 40 government prisoners in exchange for the release of 70 pro-PYD prisoners from government prisons.[55]

On 16 August 2016, clashes broke out in Hasakah city between Asayish and NDF forces. It escalated with the intervention of the SAA and YPG, and featured Syrian government planes bombing Kurdish territory for the first time in the war. The fighting lasted one week and ended in a beneficial ceasefire deal on August 23. The government ceded more territory in Hasakah to the YPG, granting them full control of all but 5% of the city.

As of 23 August 2016, Russia attempted to broker a deal between government and Kurdish forces, but was unsuccessful. Improved Syria-Turkey relations have resulted in greater conflict between the YPG and the Assad government, with the Kurds demanding government forces leave Al-Hasakah.[4][56]

In October 2016, a Russian initiative for federalization with a focus on northern Syria was reported, which at its core called to turn the existing institutions of the Federation of Northern Syria - Rojava into legitimate institutions of Syria; also reported was its rejection for the time being by the Syrian government.[57]

On 23 November, clashes broke out between the Asayish and government forces in al-Qamishli, resulting in the deaths of at 2 Syrian soldiers, including an officer.[58]

See also


  1. "Assad regime lacks the total support of Syria's Christians". The National. 24 March 2014.
  2. "These Assyrian Christians Are Staying in Syria to Fight for Freedom". AINA. 23 January 2016.
  3. 1 2 Frantzman, Seth J. "What Kurdistan's Anti-ISIS Foreign Fighters Think of All the Attention".
  4. 1 2 3 Wilgenburg, Wladimir van (23 August 2016). "U.S.-Backed Kurds to Assad Forces: 'Surrender or Die'".
  5. "A bombing in Ankara moves Turkey closer to a fight with Syria—and Russia". The Economist. 19 Feb 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  6. "Syria's fragile truce: Too many holes to last". The Economist. 5 Mar 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  7. 1 2 "Syria's war: Assad on the offensive". The Economist. 13 Feb 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  8. "Syrian Kurdish Official to Sputnik: 'We Won't Allow Dismemberment of Syria'". Sputnis News. 2016-07-12. Retrieved 2016-07-12.
  9. Abdulmajid, Adib (8 September 2012). "Deadly Attack Claims Many Lives in Aleppo's Kurdish Sector". Rudaw. Archived from the original on April 6, 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  10. "PYD Kills Syrian Soldiers in Revenge Attack". Rudaw. 10 September 2012. Archived from the original on September 22, 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  11. "Assad forces killed in northeast car bomb". Syria Live Blog. Al Jazeera English. 30 September 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  12. YPG balance sheet of war for 2013.
  13. "Al-Qamishli: Security forces injured in explosion". KurdWatch. 13 January 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  14. 1 2 3 van Wilgenburg, Wladimir (17 January 2013). "Kurdish Forces Clash with Main Syrian Opposition in Syria, Reports Say". Rudaw. Archived from the original on January 18, 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
  15. 1 2 3 "Al Maʿbada: Fighting between YPG and Syrian military". 24 January 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  16. 1 2 ANF (20 January 2013). "Clashes getting heavier in Serêkaniyê-UPDATE". Firat News. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
  17. "Al-Maʿbada: YPG gains control of oil field". KurdWatch. 3 February 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  18. "Aleppo: Heavy fighting between YPG and Syrian Army". KurdWatch. 24 February 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  19. 1 2 3 "Five killed in Syrian attack in Aleppo". Firat News. 27 February 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  20. van Wilgenburg, Wladimir (10 February 2013). "Kurdish Fighters Kill 8 on Aleppo Clashes". Rudaw. Archived from the original on February 15, 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  21. "Fierce fighting in Aleppo - VIDEO". Firat News. 11 February 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
  22. "Syrian Kurdish Militia Takes Over Oil Fields". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  23. Lucas, Ryan. "Activists: Syrian regime airstrikes kill 25". Yahoo!.
  24. عاجل- قوات النظام تهاجم على حاجز لوحدات حماية الشعب (in Arabic). Hawar News Agency (ANHA). 31 December 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  25. "مقتل 7 من جنود النظام في اشتباكات الحسكة". Hawar News Agency (ANHA). 1 January 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  26. Super User. "Kurdish YPG forces respond to Syrian regime militants in Qamishli". Archived from the original on 21 March 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  27. "Clashes between YPG and ISIS around Hasakah". Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  28. النظام يقصف مقرات وحدات حماية الشعب في حسكة (in Arabic). Hawar News Agency (ANHA). 27 March 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  29. مقتل أكثر من 30 مرتزقاً في محيط جزعة (in Arabic). Hawar News Agency. 27 March 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  30. "مقتل قائد مركز الدفاع الوطني في الحسكة". Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  31. "al-Hasaka province: Clashes broke out... - Syrian Observatory for Human Rights - Facebook". Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  32. "Syria Providing Military Support to Kurds in Battle Against ISIS, Local Media Says". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  33. Master. "Clashes between regime forces and YPG in al-Hasakah city". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  34. "Syria". Rudaw. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  35. "Assad regime says it will continue to provide weaponry, money to Kurds". DailySabah. 20 April 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  36. "Kurdish security forces capture regime institutions in Syria's Qamishli - ARA News". ARA News. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  37. "Syria regime, Kurds join to fight IS in Hasakeh". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  38. RojavaNews. "صالح مسلم : مستعدون للإنضمام للجيش السوري النظامي".
  39. "Syrian Kurds set terms for partnership with Assad". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  40. "YPG spokesman: our cooperation with Syrian regime is logical under current conditions - ARA News". ARA News. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  41. "Assad: we do not have a veto on any Kurdish demand". Rudaw. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  42. "Damascus: PYD negotiates with Assad and the Russian military". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  43. "Assad says government armed Kurdish group in Syria's north". Al Bawaba. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  44. "Syria regime, Kurds in rare clash". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  45. "Mohammed Al-khatieb". Twitter. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  46. Edward. "After the agreement held between the Operation Room of Fateh Halab and YPG, a new agreement held between he Operation Room of Mare' and al- Thuwar Army in the northern countryside of Aleppo". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  47. "Pro-Assad militias attack positions of western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in Hasakah". ARA News. 23 December 2015.
  48. "Pro-Assad forces hit Kurdish neighborhood in Aleppo with 'barrel bombs' - ARA News". ARA News. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  49. "Moscow pledges help to Syrian Kurds, but through Assad government". Rudaw. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  50. "Tensions soar between Syrian Kurds and Christians". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  51. RojavaNews. "أحيقار رشيد عيسى: السوتورو هي رديف للجيش العربي السوري في منطقة الجزيرة".
  52. "Syria's man at Geneva talks warns Kurds to forget about claiming self-rule". Rudaw. January 31, 2016.
  53. "Syria takes Turkish shelling of Kurds to the UN". Rudaw. February 15, 2016.
  54. AMN. March 16, 2016 Missing or empty |title= (help)
  55. "Rojava Asaiysh, Syrian government army faction exchange prisoners". Kurdistan 24. 11 August 2016.
  56. "Assad regime, Turkey agree on fighting Kurds in Syria - ARA News". 30 August 2016.
  57. "Syria rejects Russian proposal for Kurdish federation". Al-Monitor. 24 October 2016.
  58. "Kurds clash with pro-Assad forces in Syria's Qamishli, casualties reported". ARA News. 24 November 2016.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/24/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.