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Tall Hamis/Tall Birak: PYD withdraws after major losses

KURDWATCH, January 11, 2014—On January 7, 2014, the General Leadership of the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) gave a statement declaring an end to the offensive in Tall Hamis and Tall Birak. According to the statement, the goal of the offensive was not the capture and liberation of the two cities, but rather the weakening and deterrence of radical forces. According to several sources, several dozen YPG fighters were killed in the clashes. The already relatively weak units of the National Defense Army (a regime militia) had already withdrawn from the hostilities a few days after the beginning of the operation. Moreover, the regime did not carry out air attacks as planned. It is presumed that this was in order to avoid large numbers of victims among the region’s Arab tribes, which are allies of the regime. An activist told KurdWatch: »We do not believe that the PYD fought in Tall Hamis and Tall Birak to weaken the Islamists. Tall Hamis and Tall Birak are predominantly Arab regions and not of interest to the PYD. The PYD typically fights against the Islamists if they challenge its claim to power in the Kurdish regions. They fought there because the regime summoned them.« Not only fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant fought against the YPG in Tall Hamis, but also units with close ties to Free Syrian Army, such as the Ahrar al‑Sham. In contrast, in cities like Aleppo, Idlib, and ar‑Raqqah, FSA-affiliated units fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.


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