Syria rebels accuse Kurds of ethnic cleansing; Kurds deny it

The Associated Press

BEIRUT (AP) — More than a dozen Syrian opposition factions and militant groups have accused the country’s main Kurdish militia of committing “ethnic cleansing” against Sunni Muslim Arabs and Turkomen in northern Syria. The Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, strongly have denied the charges.

Kurdish fighters have captured more than 200 villages and towns in northeastern Syria since May and now are on the outskirts of Tal Abyad, an Islamic State-held town on the Turkish border.

The 15 groups, including the powerful ultraconservative Ahrar al-Sham and Jaish al-Islam, said in a statement Monday that the cleansing is concentrated in the northeastern predominantly Kurdish province of Hassakeh and in Tal Abyad, a mixed town. They said the Kurdish advance and U.S.-led airstrikes caused the ethnic cleansing.

YPG spokesman Redur Khalil refuted the claims.


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