Fierce confrontations and artillery bombardment has been ongoing since Thursday night between ISIS and Syrian regime forces alongside the Kurdish People’s Protection units, or PYD, south of Hasakah city. At least 176 were killed in the shelling, with ISIS only 500 metres away from the city.
The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR) said on Friday that “no less than 48 were killed” on Thursday south of Hasakah as ISIS attacked the city with heavy artillery bombardment.
The PYD is a Kurdish militant group affiliated with Turkey’s outlawed PKK, which is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey as well as the EU and NATO. The PYD, supported by US-led coalition air strikes, defeated ISIS last month in the outskirts of Hasakah in its last attempted to capture the city.
Rami Abdul-Rahman, the director of the Britain-based SOHR which observes the war in Syria through a network of on ground activists, said on Thursday that ISIS is ”less than 500 metres away from the city.”
However, a Syrian military source said that the ISIS attack had been repelled, and described the the situation in the area as “excellent,” according to Reuters.
This is the third attack by ISIS since May 30. ISIS had taken control of al-Ahdath prison, the city’s electricity company, al-Dawadia village and other areas south of the city, according to the SOHR .
The Thursday attack “was accompanied by 11 suicide attacks [targeting] the areas, leading to the death[s] of 71 regime forces and allied militiamen including a commander in al-Ba’th battalions” according to the Observatory.
The SOHR earlier documented the deaths of 43 ISIS fighters along with their families in an attack on the town of Shadadi south of Hasakah earlier this week.
Hasakah is divided into two zones run separately by the Syrian regime and the YPG.
Regime forces “would not be able to hold out if ISIS was serious about seizing Hasakah,” a YPG spokesman told Reuters earlier this week. That suggests the YPG will be in direct confrontation with ISIS which controls most of the military bases near the city.