ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The US-backed Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) on Sunday announced they had fully liberated Deir al-Zor’s eastern countryside from the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.
“The YPG, in cooperation with the Arab tribes of the region, have succeeded in eradicating terror and have liberated the Deir al-Zor countryside to the east of the Euphrates from terrorism,” a statement by the Kurdish forces read.
The YPG spearheads the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab forces who have been battling IS with support from Washington.
A YPG spokesperson declared the victory in a village in Deir al-Zor Province in the presence of a Russian envoy from Moscow’s Hmeimim military base in Syria, Reuters reported.
The Kurdish forces statement also noted that US-led coalition and Russian forces in Syria provided “air and logistical support, advice, and coordination on the ground.”
“We hope for an increase in this support and for ensuring the necessary air cover,” the statement added.
Washington’s backing of the YPG has frustrated Turkey which views the Kurdish forces as an offshoot of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who have fought a decades-long battle for broader Kurdish rights.
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis recently said that as the war with IS enters its last stages, he expected the “focus to move toward holding territory instead of arming Syrian Kurdish fighters.”
In their statement, the YPG highlighted the road ahead for their forces who “have the strategic tasks of establishing peaceful life and infrastructure so that our country can return to its health.”
According to the statement, the formation of a civil administration, a council of tribal leaders, and dignitaries and legal persons will be set up to “adequately represent the Arabs, Kurds, and all components of the region.”