A shop vendor sits in front of his shop at Aleppo's Sheikh Maqsoud neighbourhood Syria July 15, 2017. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
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Kurdish fighters wearing the blue eagle insignia of the Asayish security force stopped the taxi entering the Sheikh Maqsoud district in Aleppo, checking papers and searching for contraband.Inside Sheikh Maqsoud, Kurdish banners flutter from the rooftops and Assad's image is replaced by that of a Kurdish leader.Assad's government trumpeted the defeat of rebels in Aleppo as its greatest victory of the war so far, the return of state control to a city that was once the country's biggest.But he has made no move to regain Sheikh Maqsoud, which sits on a hilltop surrounded by areas held by the army.Still, Asayish leaders there complained to Reuters that government checkpoints hinder the movement of goods into Sheikh Maqsoud.The Kurds have allowed government enclaves to persist near Hassakeh and Qamishli, two cities they control in northeast Syria, but they have also clashed with the army there.Reuters visited Sheikh Maqsoud with a Syrian government official and was escorted by a truck of Asayish soldiers.Mohammad Ali, the head of the Asayish in Sheikh Maqsoud, was very critical of the Syrian government, saying it often obstructed passage between Sheikh Maqsoud and several other areas, blocking humanitarian supplies.Sheikh Maqsoud is about 17 kilometers from the nearest Kurdish-run territory in Syria – Afrin.
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