Over the past 11 months, the Kurdish fighters from the ‘People’s Protection Units’ (YPG) have effectively doubled their territory in Syria, leaving them in control of 10-15 percent of the country.
Since the imminent crisis at Ayn al-Arab (Kobane) in September 2014, Kurdish militias have been able to recapture the aforementioned town, Tal Abyad, ‘Ain Issa and a vast area stretching south of Al-Hasakah.
In early July of 2015, ISIS launched a major offensive inside the city of Al-Hasakah, which effectively split the provincial capital between the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and YPG after a non-aggression pact was signed early on.
ISIS exclusively targeted the southern districts of Al-Hasakah, which were government-controlled; consequently, the Kurdish YPG initially stayed out of the conflict.
As days passed, ISIS managed to recapture several Hasakah districts from the SAA, which forced the latter to deploy 400 Republican Guard soldiers along with the prominent Major General Issam Zahreddine.
Although the Kurdish YPG initially stayed out of the conflict, they eventually joined the war on the 5th of June; this led to ISIS being routed from the city of Hasakah.
In October 2015, the US-backed “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) – a mixed group of Kurdish and Arab militiamen – was formed to expel ISIS fighters entirely from the province of Al-Hasakah.
From then on, the YPG and SDF gradually pushed ISIS south, while the SAA settled peacefully inside the city of Al-Hasakah amidst Kurdish fighters.
Lately, the YPG has reached a stalemate along the Al-Raqqah Governorate town of Ain Issa.
Meanwhile, clashes between Kurdish militias and rebel groups in northern Aleppo have calmed down.
However, the stated goal of the YPG is to connect the cities of Kobane and Afrin as the latter has remained a fragile enclave for years.