SDF calls on civilians in Deir al-Zor to wait for return

“The area needs more protection to ensure full security” from Islamic State extremists.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Thursday called on civilians in liberated areas in the Middle Euphrates River Valley (MERV) in Deir al-Zor not to return to their homes until they are cleared from mines planted by the Islamic State (IS).

“We ask our civilian brothers and citizens not to move back to their homes until war remnants, clearing operations are complete,” Kino Gabriel, the SDF spokesperson, said in a public statement.

“Operation Round Up continues its steady progress toward the final elimination of IS in northern Syria. Continuous steady steps have been made toward completely clearing the northern countryside of Deir al-Zor and the preparation of further operations in inhabited areas of the Middle Euphrates River Valley,” Gabriel added.

IS is not yet defeated in Syria, where it retains a presence in the MERV, from eastern Deir al-Zor to the Iraqi border.

“Our forces progressed approximately 60 kilometers in the deserted areas in northern Deir al-Zor, which were cleared and secured,” Gabriel stated, adding that “the area needs more protection to ensure full security” from IS extremists.

The SDF spokesperson revealed that “preparations for offensive operations continue in the southern region, supported by coordinated coalition ground and airstrikes, and Iraqi cross-border air and artillery strikes.”

He also said efforts to provide medical services to civilians in Dashisha continue.

On Tuesday, during a video briefing for Pentagon reporters from Baghdad, French Brig. Gen. Frederic Parisot said the fight against IS would continue for at least two or three months. He added the areas liberated from IS in Deir al-Zor need more clearing.

“We expect [IS], like they did in Raqqa, like they did in Dashisha, to leave behind certainly a lot of IEDs. So, I mean, we expect to have, you know, a very overwhelming force from the SDF,” he said.

The Brig. Gen. said it was “amazing to see the resilience” of the people returning to liberated areas like Dashisha where “they come back and they try to open markets.”

“While operations shift toward the last [IS] territory east of the Euphrates in Hajin, the SDF will continue to clear and secure Dashisha in order to create conditions that would allow stabilization efforts there,” Parisot concluded.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany