On September 8, security forces of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) attacked a unit of the Syrian Millitary Intelligence, which was carrying out a patrol inside the northern city of al-Qamishli.
Kurdish sources claimed that the Syrian Millitary Intelligence unit had entered the SDF-held part of the city without permission, which provoked the clashes. However, Syrian pro-government sources said that the attack on the unit was pre-planned and released a video showing personnel of the SDF’s security forces encircling the unit before the clashes.
فيديو من #القامشلي يوثق اللحظات الاخيرة لما قبل اطلاق الرصاص على دوريات الامن العسكري… الفيديو يوضح ان الامر مبيت له مسبقا بسبب وضعية عناصر الاسايش الإرهابية على جانب الطريق والسيارات المستهدفة كانت في وسط الشارع.#syria pic.twitter.com/lI2yk1oJ9n
— وسيم عيسى (@wassim_syrian) September 8, 2018
Seven Kurdish fighters and eleven personnel of the Syrian Millitary Intelligence were killed in the clashes, according to an official statement of the SDF’s security forces. The US-backed force accused the Syrian intelligence of opening fire first.
The last three months witnessed a signification improvement in the relation between the Damascus government and the SDF. A delegation of the political wing of the SDF even visited the Syrian capital in late July and met with senior officials.
A recent statement by U.S. Secretary of State’s representative for Syria, James Jeffrey, in which he revealed that the U.S. will not withdraw its military presence from the war torn country, could be behind the recent shift in the SDF’s behavior.
Several local observers warned that the SDF was communicating with the Damascus government only because it had feared an early withdrawal of U.S. troops. Al-Qamishli clashes indicate that the Kurdish-dominated force is once again relying on the U.S protection only.