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AANES Official Accuses Syrian Governor of Sparking Ethnic Tension

A senior AANES official has accused Hassakeh’s governor of trying to ignite ethnic tension after clashes broke out between pro-government and opposition forces.
AANES Official Accuses Syrian Governor of Sparking Ethnic Tension

A senior official in the Autonomous Administration in North and East Syria (AANES) accused the governor of Hassakeh, Ghassan Khalil, of trying to ignite discord between Kurds and Arabs in Syria’s northeastern city of Hassakeh on Sunday.

On Sunday, clashes took place between pro-Syrian government National Defense Forces and the AANES’s Internal Security forces (Asayish) in the central market of Hassakeh, which resulted in an unknown number of injuries and the death of a government forces member.

Security sources from the Asayish in the city told North Press that a short clash took place between in the vicinity of the government’s security square after demonstrators began to move towards an Asayish checkpoint.

The official, who preferred not to be named, said that the governor is trying to stir up tension and create strife in the Jazira Region, especially in the cities of Hassakeh and Qamishli.

On Saturday, Ghassan Khalil invited pro-government Arab tribal sheikhs and notables to a meeting at the governorate headquarters in the city center, in the presence of the heads of security services and the police chief of Hassakeh city.

A source from one of the tribes who attended the meeting, who preferred to remain unidentified, said that the governor asked them to attend a demonstration against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), accusing them of being “Kurdish forces,” and asking “how can we Arabs be run by the Kurds?”

Journalists affiliated with the Syrian government published the news of the meeting, stressing that it focused on the tension in the city.

After the meeting, the governor and government officials called for a demonstration against what they described as a “siege policy by the SDF”, according to journalists working in government institutions.

Khalil was appointed as the governor of Hassakeh according to a presidential decree issued by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the end of last May.

The governor, who held the rank of major general, occupied the position between 2011 and 2013 as the head of the information branch in the State Security Agency, headed by Major General Ali Mamlouk.

Human Rights Watch mentioned the name of Major General Ghassan Khalil in one of its special reports in 2011 as one of the officers overseeing repression at the beginning of the protests in the country.


This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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