SDF confirms resumption of joint ops with coalition

Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) deploy around Ghwayran prison in Syria’s northeastern city of Hasakeh on January 25, 2022, which was taken over by Islamic State (IS) group fighters days earlier. – Around 100 Islamic State group fighters had attacked Ghwayran prison in Hasakeh on January 20, in their biggest military operation since their “caliphate” was defeated in 2019. Some of the estimated 3,500 IS prisoners inside the facility have already been bused out to other detention centres in recent hours but it was unclear how many remained inside Ghwayran. (Photo by AFP)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Monday confirmed that it had resumed all joint counter-terrorism operations with the coalition in northern Syria after it had recently been halted due to Turkish bombardment of its area of control.

SDF, a U.S.-backed group that helped defeat ISIS terrorists in Syria, said it had resumed joint counter-terrorism operations with the United States that were paused due to Turkish aerial offensives that witnessed escalation.

Turkey has ramped up its shelling and air strikes on northern Syria in recent weeks despite the fact of Ankara’s preparations for a ground invasion against the Syrian Kurdish fighters.

The SDF had said on Friday that all joint operations had been paused due to the bombardment – a move confirmed by the coalition.

Ankara regards the Kurdish YPG militants who operate within SDF as terrorists. Kurdish YPG makes up the bulk of the SDF.

The SDF has long warned that fighting off a new Turkish incursion would divert resources from protecting a prison holding IS fighters or fighting IS sleeper cells still waging hit-and-run attacks in Syria.

Simand Ali, an SDF spokesperson, confirmed that joint patrols and training exercises with the coalition had resumed at the weekend after a decrease in Turkish strikes, with four joint patrols carried out on Saturday and Sunday.

“At the moment, the atmosphere is semi-positive and allows us to undertake joint operations, but we don’t know how long these operations will be possible,” given the possibility of a ground invasion, he said.

The U.S.-led coalition has backed the SDF with air strikes, military equipment, and advisers since 2017, first helping it wrest back territory from IS and then supporting clearing operations against jihadist sleeper cells.

Since 2016 Ankara has mounted three military incursions against the Kurdish militants whom it considered as  “threatening” its national security from its southern borders.

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