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Islamic State militants attack YPG positions in Hasakah

HASAKAH – Militant fighters of the Islamic State (ISIS) on Monday launched an offensive on Kurdish positions in northeastern Syria, bombing headquarters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Hasakah province, military sources and activists reported.

ISIS militants launched a mortar attack on the YPG security centre in the Azawi village of Shaddadi district in the southern countryside of Hasakah, killing and wounding scores of Kurdish forces.

“The terrorist group [ISIS] has attacked our headquarters in Azawi near Shaddadi city from four directions, using mortar fire and other heavy weapons,” a YPG spokesman told ARA News, adding that scores of their fighters were killed and injured.

At least three YPG forces lost their lives and five more wounded in the attack.

“Our forces were eventually able to repel the attack and destroy four ISIS vehicles. Also six terrorists were killed in clashes with our fighters,” the YPG official reported.

In the meantime, local media activists Muhammad al-Ahmed told ARA News that the clashes reached the city of Shaddadi before the YPG was able to force the militants to withdraw.

“Monday’s infiltration by ISIS was one of the most serious attacks on Shaddadi since the group’s expulsion from the area six months ago,” al-Ahmed said.

In mid February 2016, Kurdish YPG units and allied fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced the liberation of Shaddadi city in Hasakah province from the Islamic State’s (ISIS) militants, after months of battles with the radical group. ISIS militants had evacuated their headquarters in Shaddadi under heavy bombardment by the Kurdish-Arab alliance of the SDF. “More than 275 ISIS militants were killed and 33 ISIS vehicles were destroyed at the hands of the SDF fighters in the battle for Shaddadi,” the SDF spokesman Talal Silo had told ARA News at the time.

The progress came after the SDF units, supported by an air cover from the U.S.-led coalition, cut off the main supply route for the ISIS radical group in al-Hawl near Syria’s northeastern border with Iraq. However, since then ISIS has been trying to infiltrate into the area, launching several car bomb attacks.

Furthermore, the SDF alliance had seized control of a key gas facility and main financial resource for the Islamic State (ISIS) radical group in Syria’s northeastern Hasakah province in early February, 2016. The western-backed forces regained control of the Jibisa gas facility, located about 12km east of Shaddadi city in southern Hasakah.

The facility had been used by ISIS for nearly two years as a source to fund its operations. Informed sources told ARA News that ISIS used to produce 5,000 gas cylinders a day in Jibisa to be sold at the black-market. Local sources reported that ISIS has been coordinating with the Syrian regime to sell the gas it used to extract from Jibisa fields, and that the regime’s employees have been working in the facility even during ISIS control.

Jibisa gas facility is considered one of the main gas facilities in northern Syria for its huge production that has been feeding power stations in central Syria. The facility was run by some 500 workers, including specialized engineers, technicians and workers.

Reporting by: Qehreman Miste

Source: ARA News
Kurdish fighters of the YPG shooting at an ISIS position during clashes south Hasakah. Photo: ARA News

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