BEIRUT

Middle East

Kurds demand support from Syria opposition

  • Demonstrators hold Kurdish and opposition flags during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in Qamishli January 11, 2013. Picture taken January 11, 2013. REUTERS/Shaam News Network/Handout

BEIRUT: The Ras al-Ain branch of the Kurdish National Council in Syria called on the Syrian opposition on Saturday to intervene over an ongoing jihadist assault on the northern city located on the Turkish border.

"Since Wednesday morning, some armed groups have launched an offensive against innocent and unarmed civilians in Ras al-Ain using various types of heavy weapons and sowing fear and panic among children and women," a statement said.

"We condemn these cowardly attacks and call on the National Coalition, the Syrian National Council and the Free (Syrian) Army to pressure these militants to stop this criminal war, which is detrimental to the principles and objectives of the Syrian revolution," it said.

The council said hardline rebels were indiscriminately shelling Ras al-Ain with tanks and called on Turkish authorities to "stop interfering and supporting armed groups to implement their own agenda."

"We ask our fellow Syrians inside and outside the country to stand beside their brethren in Ras al-Ain," it concluded.

On Saturday, one rebel was reported dead and three wounded in fierce clashes between Kurdish fighters and the jihadist Al-Nusra Front and several other Islamist factions in Ras al-Ain, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

On Friday, armed groups loyal to Al-Nusra Front crossed into Ras al-Ain from the Turkish border with three tanks, a Kurdish activist from the city told AFP via Internet.

While Turkey supports the revolt against Assad, it is also home to a sizeable Kurdish minority that has suffered much persecution and suppression.

Activists say they fear Turkey may be using jihadists in Syria to fight its own battle against the Kurds.

 
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