By Tom Wyke for MailOnlineFierce
fighting in the Syrian region of al-Hasakah has forced hundreds of religious minorities to flee
Many of the Christian refugees have moved to the city of Qamishli
Christians, Assyrians, Catholics and Syrian Orthodox families fear attacks
Kurdish forces continue to engage in heavy fighting with ISIS militants
Hundreds of Christian families have been forced to leave their homes in the Syrian city of Hasakah after fears that ISIS militants could besiege the city.
Many Christian, Assyrian, Syrian Catholic and Syrian Orthodox families have fled over concerns that if the city was taken, ISIS would immediately target minority religious groups in a bloody massacre.
Reports have emerged that when ISIS seized the city district of al-Nachwa, the jihadi group allowed women and children to leave but insisted on keeping all the young men to use as recruits
Kurdish militia units like the YPG have been battling advancing ISIS militants in the region
The majority of the refugees are now in Qamishli and a relief operation is already under way, according to the missionary agency Fides.
British volunteer fighter Macer Gifford, who fought in the Syrian region of Hasakah, told MailOnline: ‘If ISIS were to take the city, no one would be safe. Christians, Jews and Yazidis would all be targeted. You have seen how gay men have been killed in the street by ISIS.’
A YPG solider cautiously looks for enemy fighters whilst defending Hasakah. Many refugees have fled over fears that ISIS will carry out a massacre if they take the city
It is believed over 500 foreign fighters are currently fighting in Kurdish units in Iraq and Syria
As many as 4,000 Christian families have reportedly fled from the city in anticipation of fresh clashes
Flying high, the People’s Protection Unit’s (YPG) flag flutters in Tal Abyad, where Kurdish forces recently gained significant ground
Macer, who visited Qamishli while fighting for the YPG’s foreign volunteer unit ‘The Lions of Rojava’, said that the city is currently safe and predominantly held by Kurdish forces.
Speaking about Qamishli, Gifford said: ‘It is a city at peace but not at ease. The Assad regime still holds the main airport but the Kurds hold the majority of the city.’
‘There were clashes between the Assad regime and the YPG but now both sides seem to be looking the other way from each other. The Assad regime seems unwilling to open another new front.’
Exhausted: A Kurdish fighter takes a quick break from the heavy fighting in Hasakeh last week
Black smoke billows from the city of Hasakeh, where ISIS have been making advancements in the suburbs
Hasakah remains in the hands of the Kurdish forces but the threat of ISIS has led hundred of religious minorities to flee the city for Qamishli
Gifford called on David Cameron to clarify his recent comments about fresh air strikes, specifying which areas the bombings will target and who will they support.
He also called for the Prime Minister to back the YPG in their fight against the jihadi group ISIS.
Just over an hour’s drive from al-Hasakah city is the town of Tel Hamis where the first British YPG volunteer was killed whilst defending the town from ISIS militants on 2 March 2015.
Erik Konstantinos Scurfield, known affectionately as Kosta, had been part of a YPG unit fighting in some of the fiercest battles on the frontline.
British YPG volunteer Erik Konstantinos Scurfield, was killed defending the town of Tel Hamis from ISIS
The 25-year-old was a former Royal Marine and joined the YPG in early 2015, adopting the Kurdish nom-de-guerre Heval Kemal
Speaking about his friend, Macer described Kosta as ‘a remarkable person.’
He recalled the last time he saw the Kosta just his death when they joked and shared intelligence information before he was whisked away in the back of a vehicle.
Gifford reflected on his friend, who was a former British Royal Marine: ‘He was a committed to helping people, a real humanitarian. He was also a effective soldier, who led by example.’