Barely noticed, is this a covert group supported by the great powers to swing the military balance towards a possible political solution in Geneva? The coalition of multiple groups is behind the surge of pro-Syrian armed forces to liberate Aleppo and now moves toward Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State. This must certainly have pissed off Sultan Erdogan of Turkey and Wahhabist King Salman of Saudi Arabia. Would be quite telling …
HASAKAH – Western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Wednesday drove militants of the Islamic State (ISIS) from two villages in Syria’s northeastern Hasakah province.
The Kurdish-Arab SDF alliance has expelled ISIS militant fighters from the villages of Mashtal an Mishwar near the al-Hawl town on the Syria-Iraq border.
“Subsequent to fierce clashes, our forces were able to liberate Mashtal and Mishwar from Daesh terrorists,” a spokesman for the SDF told ARA News in Hasakah, using an acronym for ISIS.
At least 14 ISIS militants were killed and a dozen more wounded under heavy bombardment by the SDF troops.
“The terror group was forced to withdraw from both villages under heavy blows by our forces,” the official said, adding that Wednesday’s gains would help the SDF to continue its anti-ISIS progress in Hasakah.
In the meantime, the U.S.-led coalition conducted three airstrikes on ISIS fighting positions in southern al-Hawl, which reportedly facilitated the SDF progress on the ground.
The SDF, which includes Kurdish, Arab and Christian units, had earlier liberated more than 240 towns and villages from ISIS militants on the border with Iraq, including the key town of al-Hawl which has been for long used by the jihadis as a supply route between Syria and Iraq.
The alliance is currently preparing for an extended military operation against the radical group in the city of Shaddadi -the main bastion for ISIS militants in Hasakah province.
The SDF units have recently launched a new military campaign in northern Raqqa and Aleppo, and recaptured large territories from ISIS and al-Qaeda-linked groups.
- ○ Origins of the Syrian Democratic Forces: A Primer by Aaron Lund
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