Kurdish fighter watches out for ISIS snipers. Source: Photoshot
Who is now in power in Al-Qamishli?
Alan Hasan: Some areas are controlled by the Syrian government, others are controlled by the local Kurdish and Assyrian autonomous government.
Have you heard of the recent arrival in Al-Qamishli of a plane with Russian servicemen?
A.H.: According to published information, as well as to our sources close to the Al-Qamishli airport, yes, this is true. Russian servicemen have indeed arrived and are preparing the airport for their airplanes or, possibly, for the creation of their military base.
How much control does the Syrian army have over the large parts of Syrian Kurdistan?
A.H.: There are three big areas that are under control of the Kurdish Democratic Autonomous Government. They are Al-Jazeera (the Al-Hasakah Governorate), Kobani and Afrin (the Aleppo Governorate). The Syrian government forces are partially located in Al-Jazeera; their military is present in the Al-Qamishli airport, in other parts of the city and there are neighbourhoods that are controlled by the Asayish Kurdish security forces that are loyal to the government.
What is the relation of the Syrian Kurds to the regime of [President Bashar al-] Assad and his army in Al-Qamishli?
A.H.: The Kurdish population in Syria is divided between supporters of Abdullah Öcalan (the founder of the Kurdish Workers' Party) and supporters of Massoud Barzani, President of Iraqi Kurdistan. They oppose the Syrian regime, but do not have any problems co-existing with it, if Assad does not interfere with Kurdistan's affairs. Kurds are not fighting in the Syrian Army.
They also have no reason to fight the regime. However, they do have some problems, on national grounds, with the Asayish Kurdish Special Forces. This does not, however, prevent some Kurds from being loyal to the government and fighting with Syrian epaulettes. The Kurdish militia is fighting alongside the Syrian Army in areas such as Hasahka, which was recently attacked by ISIS, as well as near Rabia on the Iraqi border. However, most of the battles in which the Kurds are clashing with ISIS are taking place without the coordination of the Syrian Army. In some clashes, the Kurdish People's Protection Units provide logistical support for the Syrian Army.
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