Syrian regime bombs Kurdish fighters for second day
Syrian regime warplanes bombed Kurdish positions in the north-eastern city of Hassakeh on Friday, as fighting between the two sides continued for a second day.
The regime launched eight air raids - on the city's Kurdish-run south-western neighbourhoods - on Friday, after an uneasy truce between regime and Kurdish militias broke down earlier this week leading to the latest bout of fighting.
Images showed footage the city - reportedly Hassakeh - burning last night following one air raid.
Control for Hassakeh city - the capital of the north-eastern province by the same name - is mostly in the hands of Kurdish forces, while the rest is held by regime loyalists.
Clashes between the two sides have rocked the city, leaving 23 civilians - including nine children - dead, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Bombing and fighting has forced thousands of Hassakeh locals to flee, in one of the most intense confrontations between the two sides in months.
Thursday's air raids on Hassakeh were the first time the regime had bombarded Kurdish positions from the air.
Damascus forces and Kurdish fighters have enjoyed a truce, while the Islamic State group threatens the province, and other Kurdish areas jointly controlled by the two sides.
In Hassakeh and Qamishli, tensions have led to armed clashes.
Kurdish units have proclaimed independence of an autonomous region around the Turkish border and deeper into Syria, and demanded that the pro-regime militias disband in Hassakeh.
A regime source in Hassakeh told AFP that the bombing was "a message to the Kurds that they should stop this sort of demand that constitutes an affront to national sovereignty".
Kurdish militias are key US allies in the fight against IS, providing them with weapons and advisers on the battlefield.
The US has also reportedly opened up an air base in Kurdish-controlled Syrian territory, while Russia - which is helping prop up the regime - is also close to the Kurdish units.
Agencies contributed to this story.