Activists demand end to violence in
Syria's Kurdish city of Ras al-Ain
A video claims that rebels have captured and beaten
Kurds in Ras al-Ain
(Serêkaniye) in Syrian Kurdistan.
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January 23, 2013
BEIRUT,— At least 56 people have been killed
in a week of fighting in Syrian Kurdistan in
northeast Syria between anti-government rebels and
members of the Kurdish minority, as anti-regime
activists demand a halt to the bloodshed.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human
Rights, which collates reports on Syria’s violence
from local activists, said Tuesday that the
anti-government rebels were using tanks and mortars
Tuesday against Kurdish forces.
Fighters from the Kurdish People’s Defense Units
militia clashed with several Islamist rebel groups
in the majority Kurdish city of Ras al-Ain (Serêkaniye)
in the Governorate of Hassakeh (western Kurditan),
the Observatory said.
“The clashes erupted [last] Wednesday ... and [have]
resulted in the deaths of at least 56 fighters,” the
The People’s Defense Units are affiliated with the
Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).
The rebel Free Syrian Army has pledged to work with
Syrian Kurds, and rebel flags have joined Kurdish
flags at anti-regime demonstrations in towns and
villages in the northeast. But activists blame
Islamist rebels outside the FSA framework for
sparking the fighting in Ras al-Ain (Serêkaniye).
The Local Coordinating Committee of Hassakeh issued
calls for the fighting to cease, as activists
denounced “the diversion of the revolution.”
“This is a call to every free person, to stop this
farce that is now taking place in Ras al-Ain,” an
“If the battalions fighting in Ras al-Ain have any
extra ammunition, let them send it to Homs, or [the
Damascus suburb of] Daraya – that is where the
battles of heroism and honor are taking place, and
not in Ras al-Ain,” he continued.
A video posted this week on YouTube purports to show
Islamist rebels detaining and briefly abusing
several members of what they say are members of the
although they are likely members of the party’s
The video is entitled “crimes of the Free Syrian
Army in Ras al-Ain,” although it is unclear whether
the rebels are part of the FSA or one of the
Islamist groups outside its rubric.
Pro-uprising activists in other parts of the country
have also demanded an end to the fighting in Ras
The fighting is one of many sectarian or ethnic
fault lines that have prevented the emergence of a
single coherent movement to try to oust President
Bashar Assad since insurgents took up arms after the
government cracked down on peaceful protests in
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