US-backed forces continue advance in Syria's Deir al-Zour
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The US-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS) in a statement released on Friday congratulated the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on taking control of a town near Syria's eastern border with Iraq as fighting continued in nearby rural areas.
“Our SDF partners are relentless in their pursuit of Daesh and are deftly executing that mission," said Maj. Gen. James Jarrard, commander of the coalition’s Special Operations Joint Task Force. "The liberation of al-Dashishah brings us one step closer to ridding northeast Syria of the evils of Daesh and now thousands of people can return to a safe and secure environment with a brighter future for their children."
The SDF released its own statement as well, in which spokesperson Kino Gabriel announced that the group's fighters "have cleared al-Dashishah, and are now progressing in the northern [Deir al-Zour] countryside. We’ve also made progress in the Middle Euphrates River Valley, advancing on the Hajin frontline, clearing houses, eliminating Daesh (IS) terrorists and dismantling their IEDs.”
The SDF ground offensive is supported by coordinated coalition ground and air strikes in Syria and cross-border air and artillery strikes from Iraq, according to the coalition announcement, and now continues south with the objective of liberating the remaining major population centers in the Middle Euphrates River Valley.
CENTCOM Commander Gen. Joseph Votel also praised the liberation of Dashisha during a Thursday press briefing, but underlined there is more need for international cooperation to prevent IS from returning now that it seems about to lose most of its territory in the country.
“This week's liberation of the Dashisha area along the Iraq-Syria border is an important milestone," said Votel, "but military success against ISIS (IS) requires continued international cooperation to promote regional security and stability, and to identify governance, security and economic solutions that will ensure the lasting defeat of ISIS."
In May, the SDF announced it was relaunching efforts to clear areas in Syria where the extremist organization maintains a presence, including southeast Hasakah and the eastern oil-rich region of Deir al-Zour.
The coalition-backed operation, called Operation Roundup, is focused on clearing out the last pockets of IS control in the Middle Euphrates River Valley and securing additional territory along the border.
Editing by John J. Catherine