On 21 January 2021, local Syrian sources reported that the Syrian government had deployed new military reinforcements and mercenaries from its units stationed in Ain Issa and Al-Tabaqah, accompanied by Russian military police forces, to Al-Hasaka city centre and in the vicinity of the areas controlled by forces loyal to the Syrian government.
The sources pointed out that tensions between forces loyal to the Syrian government and the (mainly Kurdish) Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had been rising despite news about a Russian-brokered “temporary truce” until a final agreement between the two parties is reached.
In the meantime, the SDF continues to besiege the “security square” controlled by forces loyal to the Syrian government in Hasaka, which includes parts of the main market, and some other neighbourhoods in the city centre. The SDF also prevented vehicle movement among different control areas, and prevented the entry of food supplies, while allowing only water and fuel tanks to pass. Concurrently, the SDF also continues to impose a siege on parts of Qamishli, including the National Hospital and the Airport Road.
Nors Centre for Studies (NCS) correspondent in Hasaka, Shafiq Musa, reported that the so-called “Imam Reza forces”, a 400-fighter battalion stationed near Qamishli Airport had arrived a “few days ago” in Hasaka, where it continues to train the Syrian government’s National Defence Forces (NDF) on “street warfare, direct combat and sniping operations”.
NCS correspondent added that the pro-SDF “Al-Sanadid Forces” under the command of the “Shammar tribe” leader, Hamidi Al-Dahham, had dispatched one of its “political wing officials” to the Syrian government to deliver a message that it would not intervene if a confrontation between the the SDF and the Syrian government ensues.
Local Syrian sources reported that the forces of the Syriac and Assyrian minorities stationed in Qamishli had announced that they would be “neutral” in the event of any possible confrontation between the two sides. However, the Syriac forces in Hasaka expressed support to the SDF, and it is likely that they would intervene in support of the SDF if tensions continue to escalate between forces loyal to the Syrian government and the SDF.
NCS claimed that that it had obtained “confirmed” information indicating that the Syrian government had transferred the authority to negotiate with the SDF, from security and military officers in Hasaka to Damascus exclusively. It added that the “Syrian government” had ordered Syrian Arab Army officers in Hasaka to refrain from giving information on the situation (likely to media), or make concessions to the SDF.