The Syrian regime has attacked the PYD -- the Syrian branch of the terrorist PKK group -- with warplanes and artillery in the northeastern city of Al-Hasakah, local sources said Thursday.
The latest round of violence represents a marked escalation in fighting between the two sides that began two days ago.
Regime warplanes struck Thursday PYD-held parts of Al-Hasakah, killing five civilians and a PYD militant in the city’s Salihiya, Tel Hajer and Al-Mufti districts, according to local sources who spoke to Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to fears for their safety.
PYD forces, for their part, responded by shelling regime positions in the city’s central district, the same sources said, adding that fighting with light arms remained ongoing.
Since the Syrian conflict began more than five years ago, fighting has sporadically erupted between regime forces and the PYD in northern Aleppo’s Sheikh Maqsoud district and at checkpoints and oilfields near Al-Hasakah.
The Assad regime, however, has allowed these areas to fall under the PYD’s control, allocating its military resources to other fronts in the country’s wide-ranging conflict.
UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura on Thursday said ongoing fighting in different parts of the country had forced the world body to suspend humanitarian aid deliveries.
Syria has been wracked by conflict since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests -- which had erupted as part of that year’s "Arab Spring" uprisings -- with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, more than a quarter million people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced countrywide, according to UN figures.
*Reporting by Mohamed Misto; Writing by Ilgin Karlidag
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