The Russian Foreign Ministry is claiming that approximately 200 Kurdish men, women, and children continue to be held hostage by al-Qaeda extremists in the towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain, along the Syrian-Turkish border.
“In these areas, there has long been confrontation between the troops of the international extremists affiliated with al-Qaeda and local Kurdish militias who stood up to protect their homes from attacks by radical Islamists,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on its website.
Syrian Kurd fighters captured a rebel leader, or emir, identified as Abu Musab. In response, Al-Qaeda extremists abducted 500 civilians, including woman and children.
“They started to kill innocent people by cutting off their heads,” the statement read. “Kurds had to free Abu Musab in exchange for an agreement to release hostages.”
Although the Kurds agreed to release Abu Musab, and free the hostages, some 200 remain in control of rebel al-Qaeda forces.
The Kurds in the northeastern section of Syria have been fighting to expel rebels since July 16th, when four of their militants were killed. The Kurds claimed victory until Saturday night when the fighting spread to the city of Tal Abyad.
“Moscow strongly condemns the atrocities of international terrorists in northeastern Syria and the excesses and abuses perpetrated by extremists against a peaceful Kurdish population which is not involved in the ongoing political and military conflict in Syria,” the Ministry said.
Ras al-Ain is home to about 500,000 people. Its population includes Kurds, Arabs, Christians, and Yezidis – a Kurdish religious minority.
London-based RT contributor Afshin Rattansi says that western forces are to blame for the increased violence in the Kurdish region of Syria.
“There has been a discrimination of Kurds in that region, but now we have a situation where the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Britain are actively supporting al-Qaeda-linked organizations that are ransacking and murdering women and children – certainly over the past 48 hours,” he said. “All we are hearing from London and Washington are talks about a no-fly zone and arming the very people who are killing women and children there. And from Turkey, certainly the Turkish right wing has brought ideas of invading Syria from the north to kill more Kurdish people.” These rebel forces are extremists who wish to enforce sharia rule in areas they have captured.
The Kurds are fearful for the lives of 200 hostages who continue to be held by al-Qaeda rebel forces.
Albert James reporting