DEIR AL-ZOR, Syria (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdish-led, US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Friday said they reached Deir al-Zor on Euphrates near the border with Iraq, gaining ground in an offensive to retake the city from Islamic State (IS).
The SDF said in an online statement that their forces reached Deir al-Zor city after 48 hours of announcing the offensive named Al-Jazira Storm.
An SDF spokesperson Mustefa Bali told Kurdistan 24 their fighting would extend to any area under IS in Syria.
“Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has the right to fight in any area under Daesh (IS) control in Syria and liberate it,” he said.
From the south of Deir al-Zor, the Syrian regime forces and their allies are advancing toward the city as well.
The distance between SDF and the Syrian regime forces is about 15 kilometres.
The SDF command confirmed they would respond if the Syrian regime forces cross the Euphrates to their areas.
“The Syrian regime forces already bombarded our positions around Tabqa, and if the regime forces attack us here, we have the right to respond and we will do,” Talal Silo, an SDF top commander and spokesperson told Kurdistan 24.
“We always state that our project is eliminating terrorism,” he said.
According to the Deir al-Zor Military Council, part of the SDF, the operation in Deir al-Zor province aims at capturing areas in its northern and eastern countryside and advancing towards the Euphrates.
Al-Jazira region, located in northeast Syria, lies between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and contains the provinces of Hasaka, Raqqa and Deir al-Zor.
The term Jazira is also used by the Kurdish administration in Syria’s northern pre-dominantly Kurdish areas (known as Rojava) to refer to the provinces of Qamishli and Hasaka after the Syrian government withdrew from the region in July 2012.
Editing by Ava Homa
(Additional reporting by Kurdistan 24 correspondent Ekrem Salih)