Residents of the northeastern Syrian city of Hassakeh are taking advantage of relative calm to flee the city to safer areas nearby.

The fighting between Kurdish fighters and government forces in the city intensified as government warplanes bombed Kurdish-controlled positions in Hassakeh on Thursday, a move that could worsen the country's deadly war.

Jwan Mohammed, a former official with the local authority in northern Syria, said intense fighting occurred overnight between Kurdish fighters and government forces.

He said by telephone that relative calm prevailed Friday leading scores of people to flee the predominantly Kurdish city.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported that residents are fleeing the city.

Mohammed and the Observatory said sporadic clashes in the area are still taking place.