Islamic militants release hundreds of Kurdish civilians in Syria

syria_kurds_north_aleppo.jpg

Syrian Kurds hold their rifles, as they flash the sign for victory, in the Kurdish town of Jinderes, near the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, on July 22, 2012, as Kurdish activists on the Syria-Turkey border started taking control of towns in the area without encountering much resistance from the forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Credit:

Bulent Kilic

Islamic militants in the Syrian town of Tal Abyad have released 300 Kurdish civilians on Sunday.

The 300 hostages were taken by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), an armed group, whose leader was captured by Kurdish fighters the day before.

Abu Musab of ISIS was released on Sunday by the Kurdish militants who are at war with Syrian rebel fighters.

Despite the exchange, tensions remain high in the area between the two groups. Kurdish fighters were said to have deployed snipers in the area.

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Tensions rose after the Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People (YPG) expelled al-Nusra, an extremist group battling the Syrian government, from the town of Ras al-Ain in Hasake province.

The Kurds have sat on the sidelines during the fighting in Syria, not eager to take sides in the conflict.

The conflict is another example of the growing sectarian and ethnic nature of the conflict in Syria and the infighting among those forces opposed to Assad's rule.

Certain Kurdish groups have fought alongside rebels but have refused to join more militant Islamic groups.

Kurds represent about 15 percent of the Syrian population.