Coalition armored troop carriers pass through a YPG checkpoint in Hasakah governorate, Syria, on November 4, 2018. Video: Rudaw TV
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Locals have welcomed US-led anti-ISIS coalition patrols over the weekend in Hasakah governorate along border with Turkey following Turkish attacks on Kurdish areas controlled by the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
“We are truly happy with the Americans coming here. It makes us feel safe and comfortable. We feel like nothing bad will happen to us in Rojava,” said Idris Faris while walking along a coalition convey.
Faris of Karbatliyah village was flanked by YPG fighters and foreign soldiers wearing the US flag on Sunday.
The coalition permitted cameras and interviews in a show of force in Hasakah following reports of deployments on Friday.
Idris Faris from Karbatliyah village in Hasakah governorate on the border with Turkey speaks on November 4, 2018. Photo: Rudaw TV
Turkish forces have targeted Kurdish self-defence forces and villages around Gire Spi (Tal Abyad) and Kobane in the western regions of Rojava, the self-autonomous region of northern Syria. There have been casualties among both self-defence forces and civilians, including a young girl killed on Thursday.
Hasakah is one of the areas where the Northern Federation of Northern Syria has been established by the ruling TEV-DEM coalition. It is led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the political wing of the YPG.
Turkey has attacked the YPG, claiming the group possesses a threat to its border security.
The co-chair of Xenamiye Municipality, Fadhil Ahmed, explained why they want the international forces present.
“We thank the American forces that have come here. All the people of the world know this mutual position of ours is democratic. They know we are on the right side and have stood against the faces of terrorism of Daesh or Nusra Front,” said Ahmed.
He believes that slowly the world will come their aid.
A co-chair of Xenamiye Municipality, Fadhil Ahmed, speak on November 4, 2018, in Hasakah governorate near the border with Turkey. Photo: Rudaw TV
“All the people of the world know that the Turkish government backs them. It is not only America that has come to realize this. It is the entire world,” said Ahmed.
Further to the west in Manbij, Turkey and the United States are conducting joint patrols. Ankara has not been reassured that the area is rid of the Kurdish fighters.
SDF command held a meeting on Saturday to discuss the Turkish attacks, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, but no further details were provided.d
SDF media representative Mustafa Bali tweeted a photo of the patrols on Saturday.
"Our goal is the exit of terror groups PYD/YPG from Manbij as soon as possible," Erdogan said at a news conference in Istanbul on Saturday, according to Anadolu Agency.
"However, this road map was not complied," said Erdogan, adding that "now it is time to implement it" and "the process is ongoing.”
Turkey has repeatedly threatened a full military operation against the Kurdish region east of the Euphrates River and all the way to the Tigris River that runs through the triangle where the borders of Syria, Turkey, and Iraq meet.
Washington maintains its patrols in northern Syria are to deescalate the situation between its strategic NATO ally and what it describes as its best anti-ISIS fighters.
At least two explosions hit Raqqa
The first took place at 4:40 p.m. on Bassil Street in the center of the city.
Initial reports indicate a civilian was killed and seven more people were injured — including three SDF members.
Later in the evening, another car bomb exploded on Nour Street in Raqqa, causing human casualties.
The Observatory said it was likely ISIS was behind the attacks.
The city was liberated by the coalition and the SDF after a four-month campaign in 2017.
Updated at 10:56 p.m.