Syrian Arab rebels pass on 13 kidnapped
Kurds to Islamic jihadists
August 11, 2013
Fighters of the Arab-Islamic jihadist group (Al-Nusra
Front) linked to al-Qaeda.
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ALEPPO,— Syrian rebel fighters kidnapped 13
Kurds in the northern province of Aleppo on Sunday,
turning them over to Islamic-jihadist fighters
already holding 250 abducted Kurds, an NGO said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the 13
were snatched at a roadblock in the Sfeira region of
Aleppo and passed them on to Al-Nusra Front, a
jihadist group affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
Al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the
Levant (ISIS), another Al-Qaeda-linked group
operating in Syria, have abducted more than 250
Syrian Kurds since the end of July.
The majority were taken hostage as the two groups
overran two Kurdish villages, Tall Aren and Tall
Hassel, at the end of July.
Syria's Kurds have been battling jihadist fighters
for months in northern and northeastern Syria
(Western Kurdistan), where the minority hopes to
establish an autonomous Kurdistan zone.
The clashes have intensified since mid-July, when
Kurdish fighters pushed the Islamic jihadists out of
the Kurdish town of
Serê Kaniyê (Ras al-Ain) and its adjacent border
crossing with Turkey.
The fighting has left dozens of dead on both
sides, according to the Britain-based Observatory.
In Tall Aren and Tall Hassel, at least 26 Kurds,
including 10 fighters, were killed by jihadist
groups between July 29 and August 5, according to
the monitoring group, which relies on a network of
doctors and lawyers on the ground.
Syria's Kurds have incurred the wrath of many rebel
fighters, jihadists and more moderate factions, for
failing to openly side with the uprising against
President Bashar al-Assad.
Instead, the minority has focused on protecting its
areas and strengthening autonomous rule.
Ties between the jihadist groups and other rebel
organisations are also complex.
In some areas, rebel groups work alongside the
jihadist groups, but in others, including in Idlib
province of the north, tensions between the two
sides have erupted into open, deadly conflict.
Rebel groups largely welcomed the arrival of
jihadist organisations like Nusra, which includes
foreign fighters among its ranks, in the early days
of their armed uprising against the regime that has
cost more than 100,000 lives since March 2011.
But initial enthusiasm for the supplies and fighting
skills of the groups has waned amid accusations of
abuses by members of Nusra and ISIS.
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