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Syria regime, Kurds agree on truce in Hassakeh

Syria's Kurds have run autonomous institutions across swathes of the country's north [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 August, 2016

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Syrian regime forces and Kurdish fighters agreed on Tuesday to a truce in the northeastern Syrian city of Hassakeh after a week of violent clashes.

Syrian regime forces and Kurdish fighters agreed on Tuesday to a truce in the northeastern Syrian city of Hassakeh after a week of violent clashes.

The agreement includes a ceasefire and the withdrawal of all armed forces from the city both from the powerful Kurdish People's Protection Units [YPG] and Syrian forces, while the police forces of both the Kurds and the government would remain.

A Kurdish official in the Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF], Nasir Hacmensur, said in an online statement that under agreement Kurdish forces will keep control of all areas captured during the fighting.

"Syrian (regime) troops will no longer be allowed to enter Hassakeh. The security square in the town's centre will remain under regime control but guarded only by civil police," Hacmensur said.

Syrian state media said the ceasefire agreement also included the exchange of any detainees or wounded, and reopening roads blocked off during fighting.

"The two warring sides in the city have agreed to a ceasefire, which has led to quiet across the whole of Hassakeh," local activist Suhaib al-Hasakawi told The New Arab.

     
      [Click to enlarge]

He added that Kurdish forces had managed to take control of the southern district of Ghweiran, including the central prison, the al-Nashwa district and the SADCOP fuel depot before the truce was signed.

On Monday, Kurdish, regime, and Russian officials met in the coastal Hmeimim air base to hash out an agreement to put an end to the outbreak of violence in Hassakeh.

Steadfast regime ally Russia recently strengthened its relationship with Syria's Kurds, and a Kurdish representative office recently opened in Moscow.

Clashes erupted on Wednesday between the Kurdish police force known as the Asayesh and the pro-government National Defence Forces militia [NDF].

Fighting escalated Thursday when regime warplanes bombarded Kurdish-held positions in the city for the first time.

Hassakeh, the capital of the northeastern province of the same name, was already mostly controlled by Kurdish forces although the majority of its residents are Arabs.

Syria's Kurds have run autonomous institutions across parts of the country's north - with independent schools and police forces - since government forces withdrew from the area in 2012.

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