Syrian air force has bombed Kurdish-held areas of the northeastern city of Hasakah for the first time in the five-year-old civil war, the Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters and a monitoring group have said.
People’s Protection Units (YPG), a crucial partner in the US-led war against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS), said it would “not be silent” over what it called it an act of aggression.
There was no immediate comment from the Syrian government.
YPG spokesman Redur Xelil said the air strikes had hit Kurdish districts of the city, which is mostly controlled by Kurdish groups, and positions held by a Kurdish security force known as the Asayish.
“There are martyrs and wounded,” he told the Reuters news agency.
Government forces were also bombarding Kurdish districts of Hasakah with artillery, and there were fierce clashes in the city.
“Every hand spattered with the blood of our people will be held to account through all possible and available means,” the YPG said in a statement.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the war using a network of activists, said warplanes had targeted Kurdish security forces’ positions in the northwest and northeast of Hasakah city.
It said clashes were also taking place in a number of places around Hasakah.
The YPG and Syrian government have mostly left each other to their own devices in the multi-sided Syrian war, during which Kurdish groups have exploited the collapse of state control to establish autonomy across much of the north.
The Syrian government, which routinely uses its air force against rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad in western Syria, still has footholds in the cities of Qamishli and Hasakah, both in Hasakah governorate.
The fighting marks the most significant violence between the YPG and government forces since several days of fighting in Qamishli in April.