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Deadly clashes erupt between Syrian regime and Kurdish forces

The clashes started at a checkpoint in the northeastern city of Qamishli [AFP]

Date of publication: 20 April, 2016

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At least seven fighters were killed on Wednesday in rare clashes between Syrian regime and Kurdish forces in the northeastern city of Qamishli.

Deadly clashes between Syrian pro-government fighters and Kurdish forces raged on Wednesday in the northeastern city of Qamishli, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Loud blasts from rocket fire and heavy machineguns could be heard throughout the city into the evening as warplanes screeched above, according to an AFP reporter at in the city.

Qamishli is under the shared control of the Syrian regime and Kurdish authorities, who have declared zones of "autonomous administration" across parts of north and northeast Syria.

The clashes broke out between government forces and the local Kurdish police force, known as the Asayish, at a checkpoint earlier on Wednesday.

"The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) joined on behalf of the Asayish and the pro-government National Defence Forces joined on the side of the regime," a Kurdish source told AFP.

He said "a number of our comrades" had died but would not give a specific number.

Four NDF fighters were killed and another 20 were arrested by Kurdish forces, while three Asayish members were killed and several others were wounded on the Kurdish side, according to the Syrian Observatory.

Syrian troops and seasoned Kurdish fighters have coordinated on security in Hasakah province where Islamic State group militants have tried to advance.

But tensions have built up between the sometimes-rival authorities, often over their individual military conscription services.

Two NDF militiamen were killed in similar clashes in December.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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