The Islamic State carried out a surprise attack on the joint regime-Kurdish controlled Al-Hasakah city, capturing at least one neighborhood in the provincial capital’s southwest district as residents flee their homes, a Kurdish journalist with Arta Radio in the provincial capital told Syria Direct Thursday.
“Regime forces pulled out Wednesday night from Neshwa and a part of Ghweiran, neighborhoods in the southwest, and moved into the city center,” said Alav Hisên.
Islamic State fighters attacked Syrian army positions southwest of the city Wednesday night, a citizen inside Al-Hasakah city who escaped from the Neswha neighborhood told Syria Direct Thursday.
Neshwa residents flee their neighborhood. Photo courtesy of ARTA FM.
After an hour, IS members hiding in Neshwa launched an assault on the already engaged SA forces as well as on other regime positions inside the neighborhood, said the citizen, who requested anonymity.
Alav Hisên confirmed that narrative to Syria Direct, adding that the Islamic State had in fact planted fighters in what he called “sleeper cells” inside Neshwa.
Pro-opposition Orient News reported late Wednesday that IS had also taken the a-Liliyah district that abuts Neshwa, a claim that could not be independently verified.
Regime bombing of neighborhoods now under Islamic State control combined with IS shelling of nearby residential areas has led to a large-scale displacement of residents.
“The civilians who fled Neshwa are heading towards the market and the Bulman Garage bus station,” said Hussein.
Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) forces are guarding the Kurdish neighborhoods in the city, he added.
Prior to the surprise attack, the Islamic State carried out a three-pronged suicide attack against regime and YPG positions across the city on Wednesday.
Osama Abu Zeid contributed reporting.