Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Syria: Clashes pit Kurds against jihadists

18 January 2013, 15:08

Aleppo - Fierce clashes raged late on Thursday in the majority Kurdish northern Syrian city of Ras al-Ain, on the Turkish border, pitting jihadists against Kurdish fighters, residents and an activist said.

The fighting comes six months after troops loyal to President Bashar Assad withdrew from majority Kurdish areas, leaving residents to fend for themselves.

Jihadists have since staged several assaults on the strategic city, and most of its residents have fled.

Syria's Kurds are divided over the revolt against Assad. Some support the regime, others back the revolt, and still others seek to remain neutral.

On Thursday, "the fighting became more intense in the evening after Kurdish fighters received reinforcements to try to stop the fiercest rebel assault ever since insurgents first arrived in the city" in November, a resident identifying himself only as Mohammed said.

The rebels are loyal to the jihadist Al-Nusra Front, which is listed by the United States as a "terrorist" organisation, as well as Islamist groups Ghuraba al-Sham and Ahfad al-Rasul, said Mohammed.

Fears over consequences

While earlier reports said no jihadists were involved in the fighting, an activist from Ras al-Ain - a Kurdish opponent of Assad - confirmed Mohammed's account.

"Armed groups loyal to Al-Nusra Front crossed the Turkish border with three tanks into the city of Ras al-Ain," the activist, who identified himself as Havidar, said in Beirut via the internet.

While Turkey supports the revolt against Assad, it is also home to a sizeable Kurdish minority that has suffered much persecution and suppression.

Activists say they fear Turkey may be using jihadists in Syria to fight its own battle against the Kurds.

"The advancing rebels did not use the tanks to fight the regime. Instead, they used them to shell Ras al-Ain," said Havidar.

Revolt in danger

Analysts and activists have voiced fears over the potential consequences should fighting between Kurdish militia and jihadists continue.

"We are concerned about continued clashes in Ras al-Ain between Kurdish militia and rebel fighters from Al-Nusra Front and Ghuraba al-Sham," said prominent Kurdish activist and journalist Massoud Akko.

"Should the fight morph into a struggle between Kurds and Arabs... Syria and the revolt [against Assad] are both in real danger," said Akko.

"We the Kurds have no problem with the [mainstream rebel] Free Syrian Army, so long as it is fighting the regime, but we see no justification for the assault on Ras al-Ain."



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...