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article imageOp-Ed: Syrian Kurds fight off jihadist rebels, and protect oil fields

By Ken Hanly     Oct 16, 2013 in World
Damascus - The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that Kurdish fighters are engaged in fierce conflict with jihadist fighters in the oil-rich Hasake province of Syria.
At least 41 fighters have been killed in violent clashes pitting Kurds against jihadists and Islamist rebels in northeastern Syria, a monitoring group said on Wednesday. The Observatory claims: "At least 41 fighters were killed, including 29 ISIL, Al-Nusra Front and Islamist fighters," 12 Kurdish fighters were also reported killed. Both the the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) sometimes called the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) as well as Al-Nusra front are radical Al Qaeda-linked jihadist groups. The ISIL is trying to crush competition from all other armed groups and gain new territory. There are oil resources in the area.
The struggle for oil resources has been going on for some time now . An article from back in July notes: The battle for Syrian oil has already begun, independently from Syria’s other noisy front lines. Indications of its beginning had multiplied when the Kurds announced their intention to establish a transitional administration that would control — once its foundations were set — the major oil fields of Rmeilan and Suwaidiyah in northeastern Syria.
The Syrian government has more or less left Kurdish controlled areas alone to concentrate upon fighting rebels elsewhere. They have even intervened to help the Kurds as jihadist columns attacked areas with oil fields held by the Kurds. The Syrian air force bombed positions held by the ISIS jihadists in the area.
For a short period the regime and Kurds even agreed to safeguard facilities and guarantee a flow of oil toward Tartus, but the pipeline flowed through areas controlled by jihadists who sabotaged the pipeline. The European Union granted the Syrian opposition rights to market oil from the Rmeilan and Deir el-Zour oil fields on the international market but the opposition has yet to retain control of these fields.
ISIS has launched attacks against Iraqi Kurdistan as well as against Kurds in Syria. As a result the president of the Iraq Kurdish autonomous region, Massud Barzani, has said that Kurdistan is ready to strike militants anywhere including in neighboring Syria. Tens of thousands of refugees from Syria are also swarming into Iraqi Kurdistan to avoid the Syrian conflict.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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