Govt. forces suffer al-Hasakah setback

March 1, 2013

By Abbas Deiri

A joint force of FSA, Islamist and Kurdish battalions claimed control Friday of a border crossing and oil field in Hassaka province adjacent to the Iraqi frontier. 

0301Hasakah

"A few weeks ago the FSA declared the battle of  Hasaka," said Idrees Huta, a Kurdish teacher in the area.

"With Cobra and Konkuris missiles, anti aircraft 23mm machine-guns and SUV's they headed for the Remelian oil fields."

"There are three Kurdish battalions in the FSA; Meshal brigade, Azadi battalions and Kurd Eagles.  They cooperate with Jabhat Alnusra, which is one of the most active military groups in protecting the Kurds,"said Salar Kurdi a correspondent for Sham News Network  based in Hassaka.

Kurdi added that while the FSA controls all the oil fields in the southern side of the province, other fields in the Remelian area remain under government control.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported ongoing clashes in the Rmeilan area characterizing the fight as one between "regime forces and fighters from the Kurdish People Protection committee"

The Observatory report describes government forces as contained to a few facilities and anticipates a victory already claimed by the rebels.

"Citizens are happy about the FSA taking over, but they’re worried about possible bombardment by the government, “said the 27 year old Mr. Huta, a Sunni Muslim who supports a civil state in Syria.

"The majority of the Kurds were against the regime since the very beginning," he added.

The fight in Hasaka is important to the government not only due to the areas petroleum facilities and reserves but it's strategic position on the Iraqi border.

"Prime Minister Malki supports the regime politically and militarily. They (the Iraqis) opened fire at the liberated area on the Syrian side, and targeted the FSA by artillery, “asserted Huta.