Kurdish, Arab Forces Retake Strategic Town From ISIS

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Tal Hamis, Syria
February 28, 2015

On 27 February Kurdish and Arab militias recaptured Tal Hamis from ISIS, a town located in the Hasaka province of Syria and some 35km south of Qamishli, a major regional city on the Turkish border that has been hotly contested by ISIS and Kurdish forces in recent months.

Fighters involved belong to various Kurdish militias: the People’s Protection Units (YPG); the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ); and the Shengal Resistance Units, in addition to Arab forces known as Jaish al-Sanadid (The Army of the Brave) which are affiliated with the influential Shummar tribal confederation.

Shummar tribes, for their part, inhabit areas that stretch across Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. An influential ISIS commander in Raqqa originally from Saudi Arabia, known as Abu Abdullah Daigham, is from one of the Shummar clans.

According to field commanders interviewed in Tal Hamis, ISIS fighters fled strikes on the ground and airstrikes carried out by the international coalition on Tal Hamis before heading to desert areas in the south of Hasaka province. Commanders also said their forces were preparing to take control of the road between Raqqa province in Syria and Mosul province in Mosul, both of which are major ISIS strongholds. Military commanders said that ISIS fighters had been using Tal Hamis to launch artillery and car bomb attacks against neighboring areas.

Tal Hamis had been under ISIS control for a year and a half and most of its civilians, ethnic Arabs, Kurds, Syriacs and Assyrians, have fled to Qamishli.


Wide of road; road sign reads “Tal Hamis”
Wide of male and female fighters entering Tal Hamis
Various of lettering on walls in Kurdish and Arabic apparently left by Kurdish ISIS fighters
Wide of lettering on the wall “There is no God but Allah. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”  
Various of lettering on walls in Kurdish and Arabic apparently left by Kurdish ISIS fighters
Moving shot of room interior – ISIS flag on the wall
Moving shot of combat fatigues scattered on the floor
Close-up of what appears to be a logbook left by Kurdish ISIS fighters
Lettering on the wall in Kurdish; lettering in English reads “Be careful of our sniper Abu Dujana Al-Kindy 143/4/2014”
Interview with Assi Dahham, commander of Jaish al-Sanadid commander (SOUNDBITE)
Various of two fighters inspecting destroyed tank
Wide of YPG convoy
Interview with Idris Qamishlo (nom de guerre), YPG Commander (SOUNDBITE)
Interview with Sarhad Hemo (now de guerre), YPG fighter (SOUNDBITE)
Traveling of grain silos
Wide of Kurdish fighters inspecting ammunition(SOUNDBITE)
Various of fighters near destroyed buildings
Wide/ R-L traveling of buildings and YPG flags
R-L traveling of town


  1. soundbite (Arabic)
    Assi Dahham, Son of the Ruler of the Autonomous Jazeera Canton and tribal leader from the Shummar Tribes: 01:36 – 02:07 “Very modestly, I say that I am Assi, the son of Sheikh Dahham, the leader and ruler of the Jazeera Canton. Our forces, [Jaish] al-Sanadid took part in the liberation of areas that were previously held by ISIS, including Tal Hamis, their main stronghold in the area. Together with the People’s Protection Units, YPG, we pushed them out. Thanks be to God, we achieved victory. Victory was on our side.”
  2. soundbite (Kurdish )
    Idris Qamishlo (nom de guerre), YPG Commander : 02:41 - 03:13 “The Tal Hamis campaign was carried out to fulfil demands from people of this area. They wanted to get rid of the injustice practiced by ISIS. This is a strategic town that links Qamishli, Tel Koujer, Rmeilan and Shengal. We have been trying to liberate this town for a year, and today we were able to do it. We shall not allow it to be occupied again by any party whatsoever, because we liberated it with the blood of martyrs.”
  3. soundbite (Kurdish )
    Sarhad Hemo (now de guerre), YPG Fighter: 02:41 - 03:13 “My name is Sarhad Hemo, form the village of Hemo [near] Qamishli city. This campaign was carried out in the name of liberating Tal Hamis. We first liberated the villages near Tal Hamis and then we got close to it. Yesterday in the afternoon, we were able enter the town. This has been a successful campaign and we were able to demonstrate our loyalty to the martyrs’ blood. We took hold of a large part of their [ISIS] equipment. We promised to liberate Tal Hamis and, indeed, we liberated it. Today, we have fulfilled our promise.”
  4. soundbite (Kurdish)
    Unnamed , Kurdish Fighter : “We first attacked them with heavy weapons. The mercenaries fist resisted then ran away. They receded to the south-western area beyond Tal Hamis. We have four of the mercenaries’ bodies as well as a large part of their military equipment. The weapons we are now holding belong to ISIS. The building behind us belonged to them. They left these writers on the wall.”
  5. soundbite (Kurdish)
    Unnamed , Kurdish Fighter : “We achieved victory in Tal Hamis. The mercenaries have been defeated.”