Displaced civilians call on SDF to speed up operations to defeat IS
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Hundreds of displaced civilians from the town of Hajin in southeastern Syria held a protest calling on the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to speed up their operations to drive out the Islamic State (IS), the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Saturday.
They called on SDF to defeat the last remnants of the jihadist group east of the Euphrates River, in Deir al-Zor.
The demonstrators from Hajin went out to Bahra village and the town of Gharanij to demand the SDF to launch a military operation to take control of Hajin and expel IS.
Civilians are growing tired of being displaced and want to “return to their homes after a hard journey of displacement as a result of previous military operations and as a result of the practices of the organization,” the SOHR said.
Hajin is the last strategic point held by IS to the east of the Euphrates River. It is surrounded by the Euphrates on three sides and allows for IS militants to move freely.
According to the SOHR, there were repeated attempts by the SDF to break into the enclave, but IS so far has managed to repel the attacks.
“The Syrian Democratic Forces continue preparations for the final phase of Operation Roundup,” Kino Gabriel, the spokesperson of the SDF said in a public statement on Monday.
“Our forces continue to regroup and take positions with equipment needed and work to maintain stability in the liberated areas.”
There are continued reports that the SDF is bringing massive amounts of troops near the area in order to end IS in the Euphrates Valley.
“2,000 US and additional Coalition forces are working to enable the 50,000 Syrian Democratic Forces in clearing the remainder of ISIS in the Euphrates River Valley and stabilizing the areas that have been cleared of ISIS,” Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters last week.
The Kurdish news agency ANF reported that SDF commanders estimate there are 4,000 to 7,000 IS members in Hajin, with most of the militants being foreign-born.
According to the SOHR, there are more than 65 first-rank IS commanders in Hajin, with the majority of them being of Iraqi nationality, in addition to other foreign nationalities.
There are also reports there are also a number of European Jihadists in Hajin, including from France.
Moreover, IS is also holding 800 detainees hostage in Hajin town.
Editing by Nadia Riva