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article imageIslamists take 200 Kurds hostage as Syria clashes continue

By Ken Hanly     Aug 1, 2013 in World
Aleppo - The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims that 200 Kurdish civilians have been seized as hostages by Al-Qaeda linked rebel groups from villages adjacent to Aleppo.
The conflict between the Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People (YPG) is happening mostly far to the east of Aleppo. The YPG recently issued a call to arms as the Islamists contest control of territory seized from the Assad government. The Assad regime allowed Kurds to take control in some areas so the government could concentrate upon the conflict elsewhere.
In a statement the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said: "Fighters of Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) have seized control of Tall Aren village in Aleppo province and are laying siege to another village nearby, Tall Hassel, They have taken hostage around 200 civilians from the inhabitants of the two villages," The Observatory did not give any information as to the demands of the hostage takers.
The YPG call to arms was issued after the assassination of key Kurdish opposition figure Issa Hisso. Hisso was killed outside his home by a bomb planted in his vehicle near the Syria-Turkish border. It is assumed that the bomb was the work of Islamist rebels.
For some time now the YPG has had to contest control of key Kurdish towns in northeast Syria. The group recently took back control of Rus Al-Ayn earlier in July. The YPG has criticized the main rebel group the Free Syrian Army for its refusal to take a position on the conflicts rather than criticize the Islamists.
A Kurdish member of the opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC) claims that the Al-Nusra front was allowing Homs Province as well as towns around Damascus to be reclaimed by the Assad government in order to fight Kurds in the northeast. There may be some economic sense in the Al Nusra tactics. The area under Kurd control contains much of Syria's oil resources and rebel groups have actually been able to sell oil from the area to help fund their organizations. The Turks worry that the Kurds will establish an independent region in the area of Syria they control causing problems with the Kurds within Turkey. The issue is discussed on the appended video.
More about Kurds in Syria, Al Nusra front, Syrian civil war
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