Kurd-ji­hadist clashes in Syr­ian Kur­dis­tan

The Kurdish Globe - - COMMENT & ANALYSIS -

Fierce clashes raged Fri­day in a ma­jor­ity Kur­dish city of Syria and near Da­m­as­cus, as UN rights chief Navi Pil­lay piled pres­sure on the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil to probe war crimes in the 22-month con­flict.

The vi­o­lence claimed dozens of new lives on Fri­day, in­clud­ing an AlJazeera re­porter, the sec­ond jour­nal­ist killed by snipers in 24 hours, the pan-Arab news chan­nel said.

Mo­hammed Hourani "was shot dead by a regime sniper", Al-Jazeera said, a day af­ter French jour­nal­ist Yves Debay was gunned down in the north­ern city of Aleppo, ac­cord­ing to the Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights.

Hourani was cov­er­ing clashes in the south­ern province of Daraa, cra­dle of the re­volt against Presi- dent Bashar al-As­sad, said the net­work.

Far­ther north near Da­m­as­cus, regime war­planes bom­barded rebel strongholds in­clud­ing Daraya, while the army dis­patched re­in­force­ments to the town to re­claim it from the in­sur­gents, ac­tivists said.

A build­ing hous­ing a field hospi­tal was hit and res­i­dents strug­gled to pull peo­ple from the rub­ble, ac­tivist Abu Ki­nan told AFP via the In­ter­net. He was un­able to give a ca­su­alty toll.

But the Bri­tain-based Ob­ser­va­tory said at least 119 peo­ple were killed in vi­o­lence across Syria on Fri­day, in­clud­ing 93 civil­ians.

Fight­ing also raged in the ma­jor­ity Kur­dish north­ern city of Ras al-Ain, on the Turk­ish bor­der, with ji­hadists bat­tling Kur­dish mili­ti­a­men for con­trol of the district, ac­tivists and res­i­dents said.

They said fight­ers from the rad­i­cal Al-Nusra Front -- listed by the United States as a "ter­ror­ist" or­gan­i­sa­tion -- and Ghuraba al-Sham groups launched an as­sault on Thurs­day, cross­ing into the city from Turkey with three tanks.

"The Kur­dish fight­ers seized one of the tanks," on Fri­day, an ac­tivist iden­ti­fy­ing him­self as Havi­dar told AFP via the In­ter­net.

Syria's Kurds are di­vided over the con­flict with some sup­port­ing As­sad's regime, oth­ers back­ing the upris­ing and oth­ers striv­ing to stay neu­tral.

Ac­tivists say they fear Turkey, which backs the re­volt against As­sad, may be us­ing ji­hadists in Syria to fight its own bat­tle against its own Kur­dish mi­nor­ity.

The re­lent­less vi­o­lence was at the cen­tre of a meet­ing Fri­day at the di­vided Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, where hu­man rights com­mis­sioner Pil­lay gave a brief­ing on the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing events tear­ing apart Syria.

Pil­lay called for an In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court war crimes in­ves­ti­ga­tion in Syria, adding her voice to 58 coun­tries who pe­ti­tioned the body for a such a probe to be launched.

"I have urged the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil to re­fer the sit­u­a­tion to the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court for in­ves­ti­ga­tion of war crimes and crimes against hu­man­ity on the part of all par­ties en­gaged in this con­flict," Pil­lay said.

She said vic­tims in Syria "see the sit­u­a­tion as the United Na­tions not carry- ing out its re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­tect vic­tims."

Rus­sia and China have used their power as per­ma­nent Se­cu­rity Coun­cil mem­bers to block three res­o­lu­tions which would have threat­ened sanc­tions against As­sad and in some cases a war crimes case.

Also on Fri­day, pro­test­ers flooded streets of flashpoint ar­eas across Syria, re­new­ing their calls for the fall of As­sad's regime and paying trib­ute to 87 vic­tims of a deadly bomb­ing in Aleppo univer­sity this week.

Syria's spi­ralling con­flict has killed more than 60,000 peo­ple in less than two years, says the United Na­tions. The Ob­ser­va­tory has doc­u­mented 48,000 dead, most of them civil­ians.

Ac­cord­ing to an AFP count and the Paris-based rights group Re­porters With­out Bor­ders, at least 20 pro­fes­sional jour­nal­ists have been killed in Syria where more than 40 cit­i­zen jour­nal­ists have also died.

Rebel fight­ers take cover dur­ing a rocket launch in the city of Aleppo on Jan­uary 17, 2013. Fierce clashes raged in a ma­jor­ity Kur­dish city of Syria and near Da­m­as­cus, as UN rights chief Navi Pil­lay piled pres­sure on the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil to probe war crimes in the 22month con­flict.

A Rebel fighter ducks for cover from government jet fight­ers in the city of Aleppo on Jan­uary 18, 2013.

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