Tanks and armored vehicles patrolled Qamishli on Wednesday afternoon as the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) sent a clear message to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that government troops refuse to tolerate the establishment of Rojava, a self-proclaimed Kurdish federation spanning across much of northern Syria.
Although cut off from the government mainland, the SAA’s Qamishli garrison proved itself a force to be reckoned with today, posing in front of the cameras for a rare parade:
The Qamishli pocket, one of two government enclaves in Hasakah province, stretches from the border crossing with Turkey to some 50 government-held villages south of the city.
With control of Qamishli split between the Kurds and SAA from 2012 onwards, sporadic clashes have erupted ever since although neither side has been able to expel the other. The latest skirmishes took place in April 2016 after which a Russian delegation brokered a ceasefire.
The SDF’s political wing has proclaimed Qamishli its capital city and administrative center although most of residents come from a variety of ethnicities, most notably Kurds, Arabs and Assyrians.
ISIS remains at odds with both the SDF and SAA but has never managed to reach Qamishli city, having been expelled from Hasakah city in late July, 2015.