Kurds Oust IS from Christian Villages in Syria

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Kurdish forces have driven the Islamic State group from more than a dozen Assyrian Christian villages that the jihadists had captured in northeastern Syria, a monitor said Wednesday.

"Following a 10-day offensive, Kurdish fighters took control early this week of 14 Assyrian villages that IS had controlled since February," said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Assyrian Christians, who are from one of the world's oldest Christian communities, have been under increasing threat since IS seized control of large parts of Syria.

Thousands of Christians fled an assault by the jihadists in the northeastern province of Hasakeh in February after a spate of kidnappings by IS, which is still holding 210 Assyrians hostage.

Assyrians number about 30,000 among Syria's 1.2 million Christians and mostly live in 35 villages in Hasakeh, all of which are now held by Kurdish or regime forces.

Osama Edward, head of the Sweden-based Assyrian Network for Human Rights, said that the Kurds' recapture of the villages "was made possible by intense raids by the international coalition" led by the United States against IS.

He said that photos "show a lot of destruction of houses and churches".

"Most people are afraid to return because they fear that IS booby-trapped their houses before fleeing," he added.

The Observatory also reported that Kurdish militia took control of the strategic village of Al-Mabrukah, southwest of the flashpoint town of Ras al-Ain on the Syrian-Turkish border.

According to Abdel Rahman, the Kurdish advance could also open the road towards Tal Abyad, a border town used by IS as a gateway from Turkey.

Over the course of 20 days, the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) seized control of 4,000 square kilometers of territory from IS in Hasakeh province, Abdel Rahman said.

The extremist group's areas of control in Hasakeh are now limited to the province's southern fringes and the border with neighboring Raqa, he added.

Also on Wednesday, a rights group said the border town of Kobane -- where Kurdish forces backed by U.S.-led air strikes pushed back IS in January -- was a "city of rubble."

Handicap International said four months of fighting and air raids had destroyed 80 percent of Kobane and left its neighborhoods riddled with unexploded devices and booby traps.

"What we saw in Kobane was beyond our worst nightmares: a significant part of the city is vastly destroyed and unexploded weapons contamination of all kinds have reached a density and diversity that has been hardly witnessed before," said Frederic Maio, who heads the group's mine action programs.

The rights group called for the removal of weapons and rubble and for civilians to be educated on the danger of unexploded devices when returning to their homes.

Syria's conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests but evolved into a complex, multi-front war that has left at least 220,000 people dead.

Comments 6
Missing bigjohn 27 May 2015, 15:42

While hundreds of thousands of Sunnis have fled to Tartus and other pro-government areas from the Takfiris, the entire population (over 1 million) of Christians and other minorities have been ethnically cleansed from areas taken over by the Takfiris. The non-ISIL pro-Al Qaida forces under the name "conquest Front" who are backed by Qatar, KSA, Turkey, Israel and America are preparing an offensive to take over Aleppo and to kill or expel the largest city in Syria with Christian population. Do the "Christian" west care? No, they ONLY care about the money they receive from rich Zionist political contributors.

Default-user-icon Anti-Apartheid (Guest) 28 May 2015, 04:14

We want Palestine LIBERATED, the same reason Apartheid South Africa was liberated. After white South African rule was "destroyed", you still have in South Africa poverty, high crime rates, etc. So according to your RACIST Israeli view your Apartheid South African Ally should have continued to exist because problems still exists there and nothing can be blamed on Apartheid in South Africa any longer?

Thumb _mowaten_ 27 May 2015, 16:11

M14ers are foaming, still sore from their lovers' defeat in qalamoun, and now that... I almost feel sorry for them, almost.

Missing helicopter 27 May 2015, 17:34

Mowaten, most M14ers are believers in a Sovereign Lebanon and its Constitution and LAF. We are happy to see ISIS/Nusra/HA fight and eradicate each other. Even though HA is the better of the three, their Iranian loyalty and destabilization of Lebanon necessitates their demise.

Thumb _mowaten_ 27 May 2015, 17:47

Pure BS. m14ers are believers of submission to saudi wahhabia and only "support" the LAF as long as they think it will work with them in their petty ambitions of war with hezbollah. Really supporting the LAF would mean accepting their allies (knowing the LAF clearly considers HA an ally), not endangering it by trying to destroy this alliance. You only support your own hatred, nothing more. If it was up to you half the LAF would die fighting hezbollah while the other half would be decapitated by daeshits/nustrats without you caring the slightest, so take it easy with that self-congratulatory tone.

Default-user-icon The Truth (Guest) 28 May 2015, 04:19

Bashar and HA NEVER criticizes "SUNNIS"! Only the Takfiris and the KSA media calls for the extermination of Alewites and And minorities in Syria!