Battle of al-Hasakah (2016)

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Battle of al-Hasakah (2016)
Part of the Syrian Civil War
Battle of al-Hasakah 2016.png
Military situation in al-Hasakah City and the surrounding areas before (top) and after (bottom) the battle.
  Controlled by the Syrian Government
  Controlled by Rojava
  Controlled by the Syriac Union Party
Date16–23 August 2016
(1 week)

Ceasefire; strategic Kurdish victory[9][10]

Kurdish forces take control of 90% of the city[5]

Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria Rojava

Supported by:

 Syrian Arab Republic

Supported by:

Iran[6] (Kurdish claim)
Hezbollah[7][8] (Kurdish claim)
Commanders and leaders

Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria Lawend [11]
(General commander)
Blue06.png Munir Mohamad [11]
(Asayish commander)
Haval Rasho[12]
(YPG 4th Division commander)

Lewend Rojava[13]
(YPG commander)
Maj. Gen. Hassan Mohammad[14]
(Commander of the eastern region of Syria)
Osama Nathim al-Ahmed [15]
(123rd Regiment commander)
Muhammed Za’al al-Ali[16]
(Al-Hasakah governor)
Units involved


United States Armed Forces

Syrian Army

Casualties and losses
14 Asayish killed[19][20]
(Kurdish and NDF claim)
77 killed, 170 captured[19] (Kurdish claim)
27–40+ civilians killed[21][22]

The 2016 Battle of al-Hasakah was a battle between the paramilitary police of the Asayish and the People's Protection Units (YPG), against the pro-government National Defence Forces and the Syrian Arab Army, backed by the Syrian Arab Air Force, in the city of al-Hasakah, Syria.


In 2014, a series of powerful offensives by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant brought much of al-Hasakah Governorate under the group's control. Control of al-Hasakah city itself was split between the Kurdish and Syrian Government forces. On 21 February 2015, the YPG launched a counter-offensive against ISIL, which was followed by a Syrian government offensive on 27 February. The dual offensives saw ISIL pushed back in Hasakah, with the YPG capturing over 100 towns, villages and hamlets and the Syrian Army capturing around 40 villages on Highway 7, which links al-Hasakah to Qamishli. In May 2015, the YPG captured a further 230 towns, villages, and farms west of al-Hasakah during the Western Al-Hasakah Offensive. On 30 May ISIL launched an offensive on al-Hasakah city, but this was repelled. They launched a second offensive on the city on 23 June, initially capturing four districts and areas within three others, as well as multiple villages southwest of Al-Hasakah. However, a YPG counterattack in al-Hasakah with the support of coalition and later backed by the SAA cleared it of ISIL fighters by 1 August, with the YPG left in control of 75% of the city, while the Syrian Army controlled 25%.

The battle[edit]

On 16 August 2016, clashes broke out in al-Hasakah city between Asayish and NDF forces, after a small skirmish, with both sides claiming to be advancing.[23]

On 19 August, Al-Masdar News claimed that NDF fighters had advanced in the city center, capturing the New Hospital and parts of the Marsho area.[24] The Syrian Arab Air Force launched 10 airstrikes on the Asayish headquarters.[25] It was the first time during the Syrian civil war when the Syrian Arab Air Force launched airstrikes against the Kurdish forces.[26] According some news agencies, US special forces withdrew around al-Hasakah the same day,[3][17][27] though the CJTF–OIR increased their air patrols in the area to prevent the Syrian Air Force from bombing U.S. special forces as well as their Kurdish allies and monitor the situation. Nevertheless, U.S. officials said that they were not trying to establish a no-fly zone.[28] Meanwhile, heavy clashes took place in the Ghwyran area northeast of al-Hasakah and in the al-Nashweh area in the eastern city,[29] where Kurdish forces made major progress according to the Hawar News Agency.[6]

Early on 20 August, fighting calmed down, as another attempt to mediate a ceasefire was made. The governor of al-Hasakah, Muhammed Za’al al-Ali, urged the YPG to stop fighting against the Syrian government, as they had fought together against ISIL and had a supportive relationship before the clashes.[16] The PYD accused local NDF troops of spreading anti-Kurdish propaganda and demanded that all NDF units had to leave the city for a new peace agreement, which the Syrian government refused. As result, these talks failed, so heavy clashes once again broke out in the city at noon, when the Syrian Air Force started airstrikes with the artillery support for the Syrian Arab Army.[21][30] After fierce fighting near the Guweiran District to the southwest and in the Nashwa neighborhoods at the city center throughout the night, the violence again abated in course of the following day.[31] Later on 21 August, the newly arrived YPG and MFS forces launched a massive offensive in the city, storming the Red Villas, the Guweiran District, the Al-Askari District, and the eastern Nashwa neighborhoods, resulting in fierce fighting there as Syrian government fighters launched counterattacks to regain these positions. Despite several attempts, Syrian government forces failed to regain lost positions. In southern al-Hasakah city, the Asayish captured the Faculty of Economics, but reportedly retreated after being shelled by the Syrian Army from the Kawkab Mountains. To support the pro-government fighters, the Syrian Air Force launched over 30 airstrikes on the Kurdish forces in the city.[32] Despite heavy airstrikes and artillery, Kurdish forces captured much of the eastern Guweiran district and were still advancing by the evening.[33] In course of the next night, fighting again stopped.[32] US jets began preventing the Syrian Air Force from striking the Kurds in the city, thus enabling the latter to better advance against government forces.[4][34][5]

By dawn on 22 August, however, the Syrian Air Force started its airstrikes again against Asayish checkpoints, which led the Asayish to storm the northeastern Guweiran District, while NDF units reportedly managed to advance in the Tal Hajjar District in northern and the Al-Zuhour District in southern Al-Hasakah. Fighting was also reported at the al-Basil turning.[35][36] On the same day, pro-government media al-Masdar News reported that the Kurdish forces were "on the verge of seizing the entire provincial capital", al-Hasakah, after they captured the eastern neighborhoods of the Al-Nashwa District and positions in the Sports City, which served as a major NDF stronghold.[37] Later that day, Kurdish forces captured the central prison and all NDF positions around the Sports City collapsed. At that point, Kurdish forces were in control of about 90% of Hasakah.[38]

On 23 August 2016, a ceasefire agreement was signed after Russian mediation,[12] which left al-Hasakah city almost completely under the control of the Kurdish forces, with all Syrian Armed Forces personnel forced to leave and indefinitely banned from the city. Only the security square which contained the government departments of the city remained under the protection of Syrian government police units, while control over all seized areas were given to the Asayish.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mehmet Nuri Ekinci (23 August 2016). "Syrian regime headed for collapse in Hesekê". ANF News. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  2. ^ Paul Antonopoulos (16 September 2016). "Assyrian Bishop: We denounce Kurdish curricula and abuses". al-Masdar News. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Syrian war: US scrambles jets to Hassakeh - BBC News". Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "American Fighter Jets Encounter Syrian Jets Over Hasakah". NBC News. 19 August 2016. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d "Kurds triumph in battle against Syrian regime". ARA News. 24 August 2016. Archived from the original on 10 October 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  6. ^ a b "YPG, YPJ and Asayish forces control most of El Newşe neighborhood". Hawar News Agency. 19 August 2016. Archived from the original on 22 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  7. ^ "Îranî û hizbullahî jî bi rejîmê re şer dikin" (in Kurdish). Hawar News Agency. Archived from the original on 22 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  8. ^ "Em li Hesekê şerê Hîzbûllah û Îranê dikinꞌ" (in Kurdish). Hawar News Agency. Archived from the original on 22 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  9. ^ "After a week of violent clashes, regime forces lose the battle of al-Hasakah". SOHR. 23 August 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  10. ^ a b Rodi Said; Tom Perry (23 August 2016). "Syria Kurds win battle with government, Turkey mobilizes against them". Reuters. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  11. ^ a b "Asayish commander Munir Mohamad & general commander "Lawend" were killed in SyAAF airstrikes on their base". 20 August 2016. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  12. ^ a b c Qehreman Miste (24 August 2016). "Hasakah: Truce reached between Syrian regime, Kurds after Russian mediation". Reuters. Archived from the original on 21 October 2016. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  13. ^ Mehmet Nuri Ekinci (20 August 2016). "YPG Commander: We intervened in Hesekê to protect the people's values". ANF News. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  14. ^ Leith Fadel (14 July 2016). "Syrian Army replaces top commander in east Syria". al-Masdar News. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  15. ^ a b "Hasakah R.I.P. Osama Nathim Al Ahmed From Syrian Army 123rd Regiment martyred". 22 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  16. ^ a b "Syrian Regime Offered Military Support To PKK, Says Regime Governor In Hasakeh". Qasioun News. 20 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  17. ^ a b "'ABD güçleri, Haseke'den ayrılıyor'". Sputnik Turkey. 19 August 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  18. ^ Leith Fadel (26 June 2016). "Syrian Army Pushes Back at Al-Hasakah City". al-Masdar News. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  19. ^ a b
  20. ^
  21. ^ a b "Violent clashes renewed in Al-Hasakah city after the efforts to cease fire fail, explosions rocked areas in the city". SOHR. 20 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  22. ^ Syrian government, Kurds begin prisoner exchange in Hasakah
  23. ^ "All-out war breaks out in Al-Hasakah as Government, Kurdish forces vie for control". Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  24. ^ Izat Charkatli (19 August 2016). "Pro-government forces advance in Hasakah". al-Masdar News. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  25. ^ "Pro-government forces advance in Hasakah". al-Masdar News. 19 August 2016. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  26. ^ "Kurds deny truce deal agreed with Syria regime in Hasaka". Kurd Net - Daily News. 22 August 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  27. ^ "US withdraws soldiers from Hasakah amid security concerns". Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  28. ^ "US sending fighter jets to protect forces and allies from Syrian regime strikes". ARA News. 20 August 2016. Archived from the original on 27 October 2016. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  29. ^ "International coalition warplanes fly in the sky of Al-Hasakah city and the reinforcements arrive to the US base northwest of the city". SOHR. 19 August 2016. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  30. ^ Leith Fadel (21 August 2016). "Clashes restart in Hasakah City after government, Kurdish negotiations fail". al-Masdar News. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  31. ^ "Cautious calmness prevail areas within Al-Hasakah city after fierce clash and flight of warplanes". SOHR. 21 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  32. ^ a b Leith Fadel (22 August 2016). "Kurdish forces storm government districts in Hasakah". al-Masdar News. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  33. ^ "Kurdish militia launches assault to evict Syrian army from key city of Hasaka". Reuters. 21 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  34. ^ "Syria deploys warplanes over Hasakah despite US warning over strikes on Kurds". The Telegraph. 20 August 2016. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  35. ^ Leith Fadel (22 August 2016). "Kurdish, government forces trade blows in Hasakah". al-Masdar News. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  36. ^ "Continued clashes between regime forces and Kurdish fighters in al-Hasakah". SOHR. 22 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  37. ^ Fadel, Leith (22 August 2016). "Kurdish force on the verge of capturing Al-Hasakah". Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  38. ^ "Kurdish force on the verge of capturing Al-HasakahKurdish forces control about 90% of Al-Hasakah city". SOHR. 22 August 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2016.

Coordinates: 36°29′00″N 40°45′00″E / 36.4833°N 40.7500°E / 36.4833; 40.7500