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Al-Hasakah offensive (May 2015)
Part of the Syrian Civil War,
Syrian Kurdish–Islamist conflict (2013–present),
and the American-led intervention in Syria
Date6–31 May 2015[1]
(3 weeks and 4 days)
LocationWestern Al-Hasakah Governorate, Syria

Major YPG & allied forces victory[2]


 Syrian Kurdistan
Syriac Union Party
Jaysh al-Sanadid (Arab tribal forces)
Supported by:

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Commanders and leaders
Commander Rûbar Qamishlo[6] Abu Ali al-Anbari
(Deputy, Syria)
Units involved

Democratic Union Party

Syriac Union Party

Khabour Guards

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Military of ISIL


Syrian Kurdistan YPG & YPJ: 5,500+[8][9]
Syriac Military Council (MFS): 1,500[10]

Sutoro: 1,000+ (June 2013)[11]
Casualties and losses
55 killed[1][4][13] 434–716 killed (YPG claim)[1][3][13][14]
268 killed (SOHR claim)[1][5]
50–120 civilians killed[15][16][17]

The Al-Hasakah offensive (May 2015), dubbed Operation Commander Rûbar Qamishlo by the Kurds, was a military operation during May 2015 in the Al-Hasakah Governorate, during the Syrian Civil War, conducted by Kurdish YPG and allied forces against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. On 31 May 2015, as most of the offensive operations in the western Al-Hasakah Governorate ended, the part of the offensive in the Ras al-Ayn countryside expanded into the Tell Abyad region, in the northern Al-Raqqah Governorate.

Background[edit | edit source]

Map of the maximum gains made by ISIL advances during the Al-Hasakah offensive, by mid-April 2015.

The offensive[edit | edit source]

Tell Tamer countryside and Mount Abd al-Aziz[edit | edit source]

On 6 May 2015,[13] Kurdish forces launched an offensive in the area of Tell Tamer to recapture territory they had previously lost to ISIL.[3] Over the next three days, the YPG advanced in the Aalyah area, northwest of Tell Tamer,[18] and elsewhere,[19] while backed up by U.S.-led Coalition air-strikes.[20]

On the fourth day of the offensive, Kurdish Commander Rûbar Qamishlo, per whom the operation was named, was heavily wounded. Commander Qamishlo died of his wounds on 14 May.[6]

On 10 May, the YPG advanced on the road between Tell Tamer and Aleppo.[21] On 11 May, the YPG advanced in the al-Salihiyyi area[22] and continued advancing northwest of Tell Tamer the following day,[23] eventually capturing the Alya area by 13 May.[24]

On 15 May, the YPG, backed up by the Syriac MFS and Khabour Guards, advanced in the Tal Hormoz area amid continuing fighting and an ISIL car-bomb attack.[25] Two days later, the YPG captured parts of Tal Hormoz[26] amid mutual bombardment by both sides and an ISIL suicide car-bomb attack, while clashes also took place around Razaza village where Coalition air-strikes took place.[27]

On 18 May, the YPG-led forces captured two villages overlooking the road towards Mount Abdulaziz.[28] On the following day, the YPG captured another three villages on the road heading towards the mountain, as ISIL hit them with two suicide car-bombs.[29] In all, between 17 and 19 May, the YPG captured about 20 villages.[30]

On 20 May, the YPG and allied forces captured wide parts of the mountain.[31] In addition, on 21 May, they seized the village of Aghaybesh, located on the road between Al-Qamishli and Aleppo.[32]

On 21 May, Kurdish-led forces captured the Assyrian villages of Tal Shamira and Tal Nasri, as well as two other villages.[33] Thus, they completed the first stage[13] of their two-week offensive successfully, recapturing Christian villages that ISIL took control of three months earlier and seizing Mount Abd al-Aziz.[3]

Ras al-Ayn countryside[edit | edit source]

On 26 May, the YPG captured the town of Mabrouka,[13] in the border area of Ras al-Ayn, bringing them closer to the ISIL-held border town of Tell Abyad,[2] then a major transit point for ISIL black-market oil commerce and foreign fighters from Turkey.[34]

In all, from 6 May, the YPG and allied forces captured 4,000 square kilometers of territory throughout the western Al-Hasakah Governorate,[2] including 230 towns, villages and farmlands.[5]

After the capture of Mabrouka, the YPG launched attacks on ISIL-held villages on the border. The Kurds claimed that 184 ISIL fighters were killed between 25 and 28 May.[14]

On 29 May, the YPG captured the entire countryside of Ras al-Ayn,[4] as they continued the second phase of their campaign.[35] Later that day, clashes on the administrative boundary between Al-Hasakah and Al-Raqqah provinces took place that left 30 civilians dead at Nis Tal, on the Syrian–Turkish border, according to SOHR.[36] In contrast, Kurdish sources claimed nearly 100 people were massacred.[17] The civilians were killed by ISIL while trying to escape an advance by the jihadists. Meanwhile, the Kurds executed 20 civilians on the charges of supporting ISIL and burned and demolished homes of suspected ISIL supporters near Tell Tamer and Ras al-Ayn.[15][16]

On 31 May 2015, Kurdish forces pushed beyond the provincial boundary between the Al-Hasakah and Al-Raqqah Governorates, thus ending the offensive operations within the western Al-Hasakah Governorate.[1]

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

Map of the territorial changes in the Al-Hasakah Governorate, after the conclusion of the YPG-led counterattack phase of the Al-Hasakah offensive, on 31 May 2015

On 30 May, ISIL launched an offensive towards the Syrian government-controlled part of Al-Hasakah, and advanced in the city's outskirts after two suicide bombers targeted Syrian Army positions, killing and wounding 50 soldiers.[37] The offensive originated from the ISIL-held town of Al-Shaddadah, south of Al-Hasakah,[38] and was the jihadist organizations's third assault on the city in 2015.[39]

On 31 May, Kurdish forces seized four villages on the provincial boundary between Al-Hasakah and Ar-Raqqah. The SOHR also reported that clashes were continuing between YPG and ISIL forces to the southwest of Ras al-Ayn.[1]

On 15 July 2015, an ISIL militant attempted to carry out a suicide attack in the area between Tell Brak and Al-Hawl; however, he was captured by the YPG, and the explosives were disarmed.[40] On 17 July, three ISIL militants attacked the village of Nestal, to the west of the town of Mabrouka. One of the militants was reportedly killed, while another fled across the border into Turkey.[41]

On 8 August 2015, ISIL militants carried out an attack on the village of Abu Hamal, to the south of Tell Hamis. The YPG and YPJ counterattacked, forcing ISIL to withdraw from the region.[42]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Kurds push back IS in northern Syria border provinces: monitor". Mail Online. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-3104931/Kurds-push-IS-northern-Syria-border-provinces-monitor.html. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "YPG expels IS from 4000 square km in al-Hasakah in 20 days". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. http://www.syriahr.com/en/2015/05/ypg-expels-is-from-4000-square-km-in-al-hasakah-in-20-days/. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "Fighting Islamic State, Kurds Among Few Making Gains". 22 May 2015. http://www.voanews.com/media/video/2786197.html. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "YPG advances towards al-Raqqa province". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. http://www.syriahr.com/en/2015/05/18781/. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "YPG, backed by al- Khabour Guards Forces, al- Sanadid army and the Syriac Military Council, expels IS out of more than 230 towns, villages and farmlands". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. http://www.syriahr.com/en/2015/05/ypg-backed-by-al-khabour-guards-forces-al-sanadid-army-and-the-syriac-military-council-expels-is-out-of-more-than-230-towns-villages-and-farmlands/. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Commander Rûbar Qamishlo; Statement of the General Command of the People’s Defense Units (YPG)". http://ypgrojava.com/en/index.php/statements/650-commander-rubar-qamishlo-statement-of-the-general-command-of-the-people-s-defense-units-ypg. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  7. "SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS". Peter Clifford Online. http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-iraq-news-4/. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  8. "Coalition Air Strikes Push Back ISIS In Northeastern Syria". The Daily Caller. http://dailycaller.com/2015/02/26/coalition-air-strikes-push-back-isis-in-northeastern-syria/. Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  9. 4,000+ YPG, YPJ, and some FSA fighters from the western Al-Hasakah Governorate crossed over into the Tell Abyad region from the Ras al-Ayn countryside [1]
  10. "En Syrie, des chrétiens prennent les armes face à l’Etat islamique et aux forces d’Assad". Slate. 24 February 2015. http://www.slate.fr/story/98125/syrie-combattants-chretiens/. Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  11. Ramezani, K. (12 July 2013). "20 Minuten - Schweizer Söldner im syrischen Bürgerkrieg - Hintergrund". 20min.ch. http://www.20min.ch/ausland/news/story/19238957. Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  12. 3,000+ including reinforcements (Tell Tamer region),[2][3] ~1,000 (Tell Khanzir area),[4] a total of 4,000+ fighters
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 "First stage of 'Operation Commander Rûbar Qamishlo' successfully finalized". http://www.diclehaber.com/en/news/content/view/459039?from=919196554. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 "'Operation Commander Rubar Qamishlo' ongoing on its 22nd day". http://www.diclehaber.com/en/news/content/view/459224?from=1923065108. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 "IS group launches assault on key northeast Syria city: monitor". Mail Online. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-3103811/IS-group-launches-assault-key-northeast-Syria-city-monitor.html. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 "YPG accused of killing Arab civilians, burning and bulldozing houses in Arab villages". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. http://www.syriahr.com/en/2015/05/ypg-accused-of-killing-arab-civilians-burning-and-bulldozing-houses-in-arab-villages/. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Daesh massacres about 100 civilians at Akçakale border". Diha. http://www.diclehaber.com/en/news/content/view/459357?from=1089230124. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  18. sohranas. "YPG advances in northwest of Tal Tamer, and 4 regime’s members killed in Deir Ezzor City". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. http://www.syriahr.com/en/2015/05/ypg-advances-in-northwest-of-tal-tamer-and-4-regimes-members-killed-in-deir-ezzor-city/. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  19. sohranas. "The Turkish border guards kill 2 men, and YPG fighters seizing new areas in Tal Tamer". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. http://www.syriahr.com/en/2015/05/the-turkish-border-guards-kill-2-men-and-ypg-fighters-seizing-new-areas-in-tal-tamer/. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  20. Master. "Advances for regime forces in Idlib and Tal Tamir countrysides". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. http://www.syriahr.com/en/2015/05/advances-for-regime-forces-in-idlib-and-tal-tamir-countrysides/. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  21. Master. "Clashes in Der-Ezzor and al-Hasakah". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. http://www.syriahr.com/en/2015/05/clashes-in-der-ezzor-and-al-hasakah/. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  22. sohranas. "8 IS militants killed in Tal Tamer, and the regime forces advance in east of al- Hasakah". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. http://www.syriahr.com/en/2015/05/8-is-militants-killed-in-tal-tamer-and-the-regime-forces-advance-in-east-of-al-hasakah/. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  23. sohranas. "YPG advances in the countryside of Tal Tamer, and the Syria helicopters drop a barrel bomb on an ambulatory center in Aleppo". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. http://www.syriahr.com/en/2015/05/ypg-advances-in-the-countryside-of-tal-tamer-and-the-syria-helicopters-drop-a-barrel-bomb-on-an-ambulatory-center-in-aleppo/. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  24. sohranas. "YPG seizes the strategic area of Alya in northwest of the town of Tal Tamer". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. http://www.syriahr.com/en/2015/05/ypg-seizes-the-strategic-area-of-alya-in-northwest-of-the-town-of-tal-tamer/. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  25. sohranas. "YPG advances in Tal Tamer, and the clashes continue in the countryside of Idlib". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. http://www.syriahr.com/en/2015/05/ypg-advances-in-tal-tamer-and-the-clashes-continue-in-the-countryside-of-idlib/. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  26. sohranas. "YPG advances and seizes parts in Tal Hormoz area". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. http://www.syriahr.com/en/2015/05/ypg-advances-and-seizes-parts-in-tal-hormoz-area/. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  27. Master. "YPG and U.S led coalition air strikes kill 10 IS in al-Hasakah countryside". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. http://www.syriahr.com/en/2015/05/ypg-and-u-s-led-coalition-air-strikes-kill-10-is-in-al-hasakah-countryside/. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  28. sohranas. "YPG and allied factions advance again in Ayn al- Arab "Kobani" and Tal Tamer and seize new strategic areas". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. http://www.syriahr.com/en/2015/05/ypg-and-allied-factions-advance-again-in-ayn-al-arab-kobani-and-tal-tamer-and-seize-new-strategic-areas/. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  29. Master. "YPG and allied gunmen advances in Tal Tamir countryside". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. http://www.syriahr.com/en/2015/05/ypg-and-allied-gunmen-advances-in-tal-tamir-countryside/. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  30. sohranas. "170 IS militants killed in the last 48 hours in al- Hasakah, and YPG could sieze about 20 villages". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Archived from the original on 22 May 2015. https://web.archive.org/web/20150522163735/http://www.syriahr.com/en/2015/05/170-is-militants-killed-in-the-last-48-hours-in-al-hasakah-and-ypg-could-sieze-about-20-villages/. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  31. sohranas. "YPG and allied forces seize wide areas in Abdul Aziz Mountain". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Archived from the original on 22 May 2015. https://web.archive.org/web/20150522142819/http://www.syriahr.com/en/2015/05/ypg-and-allied-forces-seize-wide-areas-in-abdul-aziz-mountain/. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  32. sohranas. "YPG and allied forces seize the village of Aghaybesh in al- Hasakah". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. http://www.syriahr.com/en/2015/05/ypg-and-allied-forces-seize-the-village-of-aghaybesh-in-al-hasakah/. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  33. sohranas. "The regime forces lose the last border crossing with Iraq, and YPG seizes 4 villages around the town of Tal Tamer". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. http://www.syriahr.com/en/2015/05/the-regime-forces-losses-the-last-border-crossing-with-iraq-and-ypg-seizes-4-villages-around-the-town-of-tal-tamer/. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  34. "Kurdish fighters in Syria on the march against IS militants". Yahoo News. 28 May 2015. http://news.yahoo.com/kurdish-fighters-syria-march-against-militants-193120789.html. Retrieved 18 July 2015. 
  35. "YPG/J forces liberate 5 more villages". http://www.diclehaber.com/en/news/content/view/459533?page=1&key=92152d824473935b67054a3e9b22508b. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  36. "YPG clashes with IS near and inside the province of al- Raqqa". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. http://www.syriahr.com/en/2015/05/ypg-clashes-with-is-near-and-inside-the-province-of-al-raqqa/. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  37. "At least 50 members of the regime forces and allied militiamen killed and wounded in an attack launched by IS on the city of al- Hasakah". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. 30 May 2015. http://www.syriahr.com/en/2015/05/at-least-50-members-of-the-regime-forces-and-allied-militiamen-killed-and-wounded-in-an-attack-launched-by-is-on-the-city-of-al-hasakah/. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  38. "Syrian army regains ground against Islamic State in Hasaka city". 7 June 2015. http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/06/07/syrian-army-regains-ground-against-islamic-state-hasaka-city. 
  39. Leith Fadel (8 June 2015). "Syrian Armed Force are triumphant at Al-Hasakah City". Al-Masdar News. http://www.almasdarnews.com/article/syrian-armed-force-are-triumphant-at-al-hasakah-city/. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  40. July 15: Defense Units Deny One More ISIL Supply Route to Raqqa
  41. July 17: Major Offensive Against ISIL Terrorists Beleaguered Inside Hasakah
  42. Aug 8: Multiple Terrorist Attacks Repelled By the Combined Defense Units in Tal Hamis, Sarrin and Afrin: Rojava Aug 7

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