ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – For the first time on Friday, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in cooperation with the US-led Coalition, resumed large-scale joint operations against the so-called Islamic State in Syria’s Deir al-Zor province, the Coalition announced in a statement on Saturday.
The statement marked another landmark as it was the first Coalition statement published in Kurmanji, the main Kurdish dialect spoken in northern Syria.
Friday’s operation resulted in multiple Islamic State fighters killed and wounded, it added. Coalition forces accompanied hundreds of SDF commandos who cleared various compounds and captured over a dozen fighters.
The SDF also confirmed on Friday that 25 terrorists were arrested during operations across different locations and against multiple sleeper cells.
After US President Donald Trump ordered American troops to withdraw from northeastern Syria in early October, Turkey launched an attack on SDF forces along its southern border.
As a result, the SDF temporarily halted operations against Islamic State sleeper cells to defend itself from Turkish attacks in the north.
However, in late October, Trump reversed his decision and announced that the US would leave some forces in eastern Syria to maintain control of oil fields, and continue to work with the SDF.
On Nov. 6, not long after that announcement, the SDF’s Commander-in-Chief, General Mazloum Abdi, said the SDF would resume its operations with the Coalition against the Islamic State.
The US-led Coalition confirmed in Saturday’s statement that the recent tensions in northern Syria and the re-positioning of Coalition troops to eastern Syria “led to a brief pause in defeat-ISIS operations.”
Elsewhere, Reuters reported on Saturday that US Central Command Chief General Kenneth McKenzie said 500 US personnel in eastern Syria were expected to resume operations against the Islamic State in the coming days and weeks.
Coalition spokesperson Colonel Myles Caggins said the “US-led Coalition’s mission to disrupt and degrade ISIS remnants continued despite recent events in northern Syria.”
“The planning and preparation of this operation is an example of a continued partnership between Coalition forces and the SDF to ensure the lasting defeat of ISIS,” Colonel Caggins told Kurdistan 24.
He added that the operation was “part of the Coalition’s ongoing campaign to disrupt the ability of ISIS to organize, move supplies, and fund insurgent activities.”
“The Coalition and our partners will not cease apprehending ISIS officers and operatives until the ultimate defeat of the terrorist organization.”
The Coalition also said the joint operation was in response to increasing threats of Islamic State attacks, following days of joint planning and preparation.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany