As if ISIS, or Daesh as they hate to be called, couldn’t appear more senseless about the violence they commit, the city of Tal Abyad has fallen under fire just hours after a hiatus has been agreed between fighting forces.
The U.S. and Russia were successful in brokering the first-ever ceasefire, effective Saturday at midnight, since the beginning of the brutal and confusing five-year conflict in Syria. The truce was agreed upon by the U.S., Russia, the Assad Regime, and 97 different warring factions in the country. Now, VICE is reporting that it didn’t take long at all for this agreement to see bloodshed. It wasn’t much to the benefit if ISIS, however, who seem to have at least had the element of surprise on their side; Kurdish forces are claiming to have “crushed” the threat.
Tal Abyad is a town near the Turkish border. It was reclaimed by Kurdish forces from ISIS, who decided to use the ceasefire that they were not included in to reclaim the city from the YPG militias who are stalwart fighters against the terror group. The attack came just after all parties had agreed to suspend hostilities, especially in locations controlled by the enemies of ISIS.
Forty-five ISIS fighters and 20 Kurdish militia fighters were killed in the assault on the town as reported by Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based monitoring group. Airstrikes were used to supplement the effect of ground forces who were said by Redur Xelil, a spokesman for the YPG militia, to have “crushed” the ISIS-led attack.
All across Syria there has been minor bloodshed, with only ISIS and al Nusra Front making any real noise. Assad’s forces were said to have briefly fired some artillery rounds at a village in the province of Allepo, according to Reuters who quoted a rebel who stated, “Yesterday at this time there were fierce battles… It is certainly strange, but the people are almost certain that the regime will breach the truce on the grounds of hitting Nusra.”
However, since the agreement did not include ISIS or Nusra, they are still fair game. One benefit to the ceasefire excluding members of ISIS and al Nusra Front is that it may draw them out and isolate them from the rest of the fighting. Once the confusion of all these different sides is dealt with, groups not included in the truce, such as ISIS, will be more apparent and in turn more easily destroyed.
But certain groups are expressing their concern for a collapse of the agreement. Breaches and violations by ISIS and government troops are recurring here and there, and those complying are finding it difficult to uphold the truce.
“Let’s pray that this works because frankly this is the best opportunity we can imagine the Syrian people has had for the last five years in order to see something better and hopefully something related to peace,” U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said at a midnight news conference in Geneva.
The conflict between Kurdish forces and ISIS has been especially prominent in the narrative of the Syrian Civil War. The city of Kobani is one example of this, in which the ISIS captured the city, displacing many Kurdish people. The YPG (People’s Protection Units) and the Free Syrian Army, helped by coalition airstrikes recaptured the city after a long and bloody siege. Kurdish forces have shown the highest resolve against many odds to eliminate the threat of ISIS.
Despite the emergence of ISIS and the lack of cooperation between the U.S., Russia, Assad, and the dozens of other militias fighting for various reasons, the ceasefire stands as a symbol that the war can be managed. Major players can work together despite the fact that they do not wish to associate and at least draw out the fear that is ISIS.
[Photo by Ahmet Sik/Getty Images]