ISIS kills 15, abducts 300 Kurds in attacks on Kurdish towns in Syria
The al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) killed 15 Kurds, including seven children, in an attack on a village in northern Syria and abducted 300 Kurds in a village close to Aleppo, according to news outlets.

The attack, in which 15 people were killed, is the latest in the ISIS offensive against Syrian Kurds during a six-month period in Rojava, the Kurdish name given to northern Syria, where the Kurds have gained the upper hand in control of the area in recent months.

There have been ongoing clashes for months between ISIS and Syria's Democratic Union Party (PYD) -- an offshoot of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) -- over control of several key towns in northern Syria along the Turkish border. During the clashes, the son of PYD leader Saleh Muslim was killed. However, the clashes have escalated in the past days between the PYD and ISIS for control of areas.

Kurds have gained considerable swathes of territory in Syria's north as a result of fierce fighting with al-Qaeda-linked radical groups, tightening their grip on an area where they have set up autonomous rule.

The reports based the information on the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and a freelance photographer, who stated that the attack took place on Thursday at Tilleye, a village 100 meters away from the Turkish border, after militants stormed the village.

According to news reports, around 30 people were killed in the attack. The reports added that the People's Defense Units (YPG), the armed militia of the PYD, came to the village in the early hours of Friday and clashed with the ISIS forces in order to gain control of the village.

"This village is known to be Yezidi. However, the village was evacuated due to the clashes and the YPG gained control of the village. Later on, the Arabs who fled from Aleppo settled in the village. They [ISIS] probably thought these Arabs were Yezidis," said Muslim in an interview with the Turkish Hürriyet daily.

Muslim noted that Serekaniye was an area in which clashes between the YPG and ISIS frequently took place and that clashes between the two groups were still going on.

Last year, the PYD had seized control of Ras al-Ain following days of clashes with fighters affiliated with the al-Nusra Front. Ras al-Ain is part of Syria's northeastern oil-producing province of Hasaka, home to many of the million-strong Syrian Kurdish minority. One Reuters photograph showed six bodies, including three young boys.

The attack is said to be retaliation for a recent PYD bomb attack near the ISIS-controlled Lazor Hotel located in the northern city of Raqqa, where ISIS has control. Sixty-seven people were killed in that attack.

Three hundred Kurds were abducted by ISIS during the al-Qaeda-affiliated group's recent raid on Al-Bab village in Syria's Aleppo province. Recently, Kurdish residents of the town of Al-Bab and surrounding villages stated that they were deeply concerned about deadly fighting among rival opposition groups and about a takeover by al-Qaeda groups. Al-Bab, which is close to Ceylanpınar, a town in Turkey's southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, is a multiethnic town home to Kurds, Arabs, Christians and Turkmens.

According to reports, on Thursday night members of ISIS raided the town and carried out an identity check of residents there. After the identity check, the group abducted 300 people and left the town.

According to Al Jazeera, those abducted were all Kurds and that the place where they were taken was unconfirmed.

PYD head: Controls at Turkey-Syria border should be tightened

Muslim noted that the PYD is aware of the fact that the Turkish government is not supporting the radical groups in Syria; however, he added that it should take measures to tighten controls at border crossings.

"ISIS' website states that 200 new people have joined ISIS ranks as they entered Syria through the Turkish border. Turkey should take control of its borders. How can ISIS members cross the border that easily? This must be stopped," said Muslim.

The PYD leader had previously accused Turkey of having a hand in the atrocities committed by extremist groups fighting against the regime in Syria. Ankara has denied the claims several times, saying it will not take part in the ongoing fighting in Syria.

Muslim later said Ankara's policy towards radical groups changed after Syria's extremist groups started to pose a threat to the security of Turkey and it cut support to al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Syria. "Moreover, international pressure has also contributed [to the change of policy on radical groups]," Muslim added.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CİHAN
Last Modified: 2014-05-30 17:00:02
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