Several killed in rare violence between Kurdish and Syrian govt groups
BEIRUT - Reuters
Kurdish fighters take position during clashes with Syrian pro-government in the northwestern Syrian town of Qamishli on April 20, 2016 - AFP photoRare violence erupted on April 21 between Kurdish groups and Syrian government forces in northeast Syria in which several people were killed, a monitoring group said.
Kurdish groups control most of Qamishli city, near the Turkish border, but government forces still hold the airport and a few areas of the centre.
The fighting, one of the most serious flare-ups yet between the two sides in the city, began after the Kurdish internal security forces, called the Asayish, stopped a car carrying an officer of the Syrian national defence forces, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Two Asayish members were later killed, a Kurdish YPG official told Reuters.
"Syrian regime forces targeted a patrol of the Kurdish Asayish forces in Qamishli and two Asayish members died," the official told Reuters.
The Observatory said three members of the Asayish forces and four Syrian national defence members died as the fighting escalated.
Violence was continuing late on April 21 and more than 20 members of the Syrian national defence forces had been taken prisoner by the Asayish, said the Observatory, which monitors the five-year-old conflict through a network of sources inside Syria.
Kurdish forces encroached into territory previously held by Syrian government forces in the city, the Observatory said. The fighting kept shops closed all day.
The Asayish is an internal security force set up by the autonomous Kurdish administration that runs large areas of northern Syria.
The Syrian army could not be reached for comment.