A firing line of Syrian Democratic Forces undergoes marksmanship training exercise to prepare for Operation Roundup near Shaddadi, Syria, May 27, 2018. Photo: Staff Sgt. Timothy R. Koster | US Army
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A joint operation involving Syrian Democratic Forces and Iraqi forces in northeast Syria aims to clear ISIS remnants around Dashisha in a fight the United States is describing as "extremely difficult."
"These operations have been planned over many months in coordination with Iraqi forces across the border to ensure ISIS terrorists have no escape," read a statement from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The US-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS has supported Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and the SDF to regain border control from the extremist group.
"Dashisha is a notorious ISIS stronghold in northeast Syria from which ISIS has terrorized the Syrian and Iraqi people for many years," added Pompeo.
Dashisha is on the Khabur River about halfway between Hasaka and Deir ez-Zor cities in Syria, and only 50 kilometers from the Iraqi border.
"The fighting over the days ahead will be extremely difficult. We have full confidence in our partners, the Syrian Democratic Forces, and we are proud to work with them to rid Syria from the scourge of ISIS and help build a better future for all Syrians," stated Pompeo.
British Maj. Gen. Felix Gedney explained the ISF was providing air support.
"Phase 2 of Operation Roundup now underway targeting Daesh remnants around Dashisha in NE Syria. SDF and Coalition supported by ISF air and artillery strikes. Our unity and common purpose will defeat Daesh," tweeted Gedney, the deputy commander of CJTFOIR, using another term for ISIS.
US, Italian and French forces were involved in the operation that has killed at least 26 members of ISIS and began on Sunday, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
"Within the framework of the second stage of al-Jazeera Storm campaign and the military operations to liberate the Dashisha town, our forces marched towards al-Shadadi, and the Fakah village and its surrounding farms were liberated," the SDF stated on Tuesday.
The Observatory reported on Tuesday at least 11 civilians
had been killed in the battle.