ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The official US government Twitter account for the Special Ops Joint Task Force in Iraq/Syria (SOJTFOIR) on Sunday said that Islamic State (IS) militants had set off an explosion from within the Hajin Hospital to destroy the civilian infrastructure.
“This further demonstrates [IS]’s complete disregard for protected structures, innocent civilians, and human life. The Coalition did not strike the facility. We will continue to fight alongside our SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] partners,” the SOJTFOIR account stated.
According to the SOJTFOIR, it is a common IS tactic to destroy protected structures, as they did with the Grand al-Nuri Mosque in the last days of the battle of Mosul in June last year.
The head of the SDF press office also confirmed that the jihadist group had placed explosives in the hospital.
“At 7 o’clock of this evening, [IS] placed mines in Hajin Hospital. While placing them, some of their mines exploded and caused enormous damage to the hospital,” SDF official Mustafa Bali said on his Twitter account on Sunday, adding that some IS members were killed in the blast.
On Monday, Bali claimed the SDF is now in control of the hospital in Hajin.
Recently, the SDF has made strong advances against IS in its last remaining stronghold in Syria.
The People’s Protection Units (YPG) on Monday also claimed the town of Hawama, which is located at the entrance of Hajin, had been liberated in the latest battle.
The YPG also noted preparations are underway for a large-scale offensive on the IS-held pocket.
Special Representative for Syria, James Jeffrey, told reporters last week that the US is totally committed to defeating IS along the Euphrates.
“Our local ally in that, as you know, since 2014, has been the SDF, as everybody else knows. They are involved in a very, very tough battle. This is not an organization that has been totally destroyed,” he said.
“We think that we’ll be able to finish the job in the months ahead, but there’s very heavy fighting there and we’re putting a lot of our own effort and the effort of our friends and allies and partners into it,” he concluded.
On Sep. 11, the SDF and the US-led global coalition announced the start of their operation to take the last remaining IS-held town of Hajin, located along the banks of the Euphrates River, in addition to the surrounding villages of Baghoz, Susah, and Shafa’a. The SDF gained control of Baghoz and Susah in the final week of October.
On Oct. 31, the SDF announced it had decided to temporarily halt its campaign against the jihadist group until Turkey ended its attacks on Syria’s northeast.
Following discussions with the US-led coalition, the General Command of the SDF on Nov. 11 announced it would resume its military operations against IS in the region.
Editing by Nadia Riva