Syrian armed forces and Kurdish fighters reached a ceasefire agreement in the northeastern city of Hasaka, state media reported. This development comes after the Kurds took control of the entire city, cementing their grip on the northeast region of Syria.
The agreement to halt fighting reportedly came into effect on 23 August, 11 am GMT post a massive effort by the People's protection units (YPG) to seize the last regime controlled areas of the city. The US-backed Kurdish YPG already controls large areas of north eastern Syria. They are considered to be a key ally by Washington in its battle against the Islamic State (Isis) in Syria.
Under the ceasefire, the Syrian forces will be allowed to leave Hasaka but their presence will still remain in the outskirts of the city. As a part of the agreement, Kurdish fighters are also expected to pull out but the security will be handed over to Asayish, the police force linked to the YPG. Before the latest round of fighting began, the Kurds controlled 70% of Hasaka.
The head of Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Reuters, "Even if they (pro-government militias) keep a symbolic presence, it is a big defeat for the regime in Hasaka." State TV reported that the deal included prisoner swap, handing over the wounded as well as the dead bodies and opening roads to Syrian army forces inside and outside the city.
Last week, regime fighter jet bombed Kurdish positions for the first time since the war, which led to the US-led coalition scrambling jets to protect American special operation forces in the area. Earlier, YPG took control of Ghwairan, the only Arab neighbourhood in Hasaka, still in regime hands.
The increasing sway of the Kurds in Syria has startled Turkey, which is fighting insurgents from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Syrian rebels supported by Turkey said they were in the final stages of preparing for an attack from within Turkey on the Isis held border town of Jarablus, aiming to prevent YPG from gaining control. The areas, which the group controls in northern Syria, include a 400 km (250 miles) stretch of Syrian-Turkish border from the eastern front with Iraq to the Euphrates river.