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Rudaw

Syria

YPG: War on ISIS continues

By Rudaw 9/3/2018
YPG members attend a funeral for fighters of the SDF killed in combat with ISIS in Deir ez-Zor last week. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP
YPG members attend a funeral for fighters of the SDF killed in combat with ISIS in Deir ez-Zor last week. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdish forces in Syria are not giving up on the war against ISIS, despite the redeployment of hundreds of SDF troops from the frontlines with the terror group in eastern Syria to defend Afrin on the opposite side of the country. 

The armed Kurdish forces, YPG and YPJ, have been “the only force [that] encountered ISIS effectively so far, and [is] continuing to fight ISIS in multiple fronts. As the world [is] letting ISIS gain power again, our fight against ISIS continues in Deir al-Zor and Afrin,” the YPG tweeted early Friday morning. 

The YPG are the dominant force with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), key international allies in the war against ISIS on the ground in Syria. 

Earlier this week, 1,700 fighters from the SDF were redeployed from the ISIS front in Deir ez-Zor, eastern Syria, to help defend Afrin facing a military onslaught by Turkey. 

That decision was made “at a time of international silence in the face of the barbarism of the Turks against civilians,” Abu Ali Bard, general commander of the Revolutionary Forces (Jaysh al-Thuwar), a militia fighting under the SDF banner, told ANHA news on Thursday. 

This was not the first batch of fighters sent to Afrin, he added, noting that they will send more, if need be. 

The Kurds’ international allies have expressed concern about the shift of focus away from ISIS.

“We would like to see ISIS defeated once and for all. The best way to do that is to stay focused on ISIS,” US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a press briefing on Thursday, while stressing that the SDF is a “valuable partner” without whom success against ISIS would not have been possible.

Four “high value” ISIS leaders have been “eliminated” recently, coalition spokesperson Col. Ryan Dillon said on Thursday, stressing that pressure must be kept on the group. 

“Despite crushing the so-called caliphate and exposing Daesh [ISIS] ideology for the lie it is, we mustn’t let up in our pursuit of these apocalyptic terrorists,” he said in London, AFP reported. 

In Syria, the SDF is combatting ISIS in its remaining territory in eastern Deir ez-Zor province and the Middle Euphrates River Valley. Working with the coalition, they are also “pursuing and targeting foreign terrorist fighters attempting to escape through neighbouring countries,” explained Dillon. 

Turkey launched its Operation Olive Branch against the Kurdish enclave of Afrin on January 20 with the stated aim of clearing “terrorists” from its borders. Ankara alleges the YPG and YPJ and the ruling PYD are branches of the PKK, a named terror organization. The Kurdish groups deny the charge. 

Turkey on Thursday took control of a fifth town.

The YPG slammed what they described as global silence on the military offensive. “This people will forgive, but will never forget the invaders and their crime partners.”

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Outsider | 9/3/2018
The YPG has no choice then continuing the "fight" against ISIS... should they stop...they will lose the support of the US military and Turkey will have completely free hand... The Afrin operation demonstrated that without the US advisors and intense US air support... YPG is more or less "nothing", just a simple milita... I know these words heart and many will "vote my comment down"... but a friend tells the truth... It is also obvious the 1700 Arab or Kurdish fighters sent by YPG seem not to make a difference...as YPG fighters without US air support against ISIS... I hope the Kurds will soon realise that US & Russia are just using them! If YPG wants to taken serious...allow the civilians who want to leave to leave..
Anthony | 9/3/2018
What Col Dillon and all the US reps fail to acknowledge or even accept is that the Turkish backed forces invading Afrin are 'ISIS'.It might suit the USA's game but many of the Kurdish and SDF fighters have family in Afrin Canton.Should the YPG/J/SDF ignore an invasion on one front to give US credibility on what is now a minor threat? The whole US/UN/Nato stance on Turkeys behaviour is utterly disgraceful!
Volkan | 9/3/2018
Outsider the only friends to the Kurdish people are the Turk for centuries they have been fighting side by side, the Persians, the crusaders and the arabs traitor. Now the WEST has new tactic they have infiltrated the middle east again with lies and deceit with Saddam and Ben Laden. Then they invented ISIS a group of retarded bearded wackos from England America and other places in europe. They created an entity in 1910's called Asala (armenian rebels with yezids joining them) to fight the Turks and make propaganda from within. That group has been transformed into PKK/PYD/YPG, they can use all the alphabet letters available but a terrorist remains a terrorist. the YPG /PYD/PKK / DAESH / ISIS are all the same they are controlled by the same entity to divide the middle east and use its resources (STEAL) Why is america there? (10000KM distance) and coming to a land that is not his and that makes military bases in specific rafinery locations, gas / oil etc. Its not there to protect the people. its there to protect the resources and they are using the Kurd (Muslim ones) into their bullshit against their long term brother the Turks. Our Turkish Kurdish alliance goes back to the year 980 then in 1071 with Turkish sultan Alp Arslan had to make a breakthrough Anatolia so he was accompanied by 30 000Turkish Soldiers and 90 000 Kurdish ones. We are allies and the west knows this, so they want to split us. Screw the West, LONG LIVE THE TURKS and KURDS brotherhood
GrinOlsson | 9/3/2018
I disagree with the other commentator on several issues but not substance. First of all, the YPG and Kurdish allies need to take a hard look at what is going on around them with respect to Syria and Turkey as well as the United States and Russian Federation. The Russian are affording the Turks to take Afrin without any Russian Federation support for the Kurds. They Syrians have been asked for help by the Kurds which would be in Syria's best interest for national reconsilation regardless of full national unity or a federal state - either way - both the Kurds and Syrians would enjoy peace under a national flag. For reasons unknown Syria has not supplied a sufficient military deterrence with Russian Federation air support to back up the Kurds. The punishment - if one were to call a Kurdish decision - to defend Afrin with Kurdish troops by removing them from the fight with the Islamic State would create a situation where Syrian troops would have to engage ISIS without Kurdish support. A hard reality to save the Kurdish troops on the front lines - and a necessary step without Syrian help. The Kurds must look at the reality of fighting the Turkish military that has air support - with seasoned Kurdish fighters but no air support. This means engage in a military venture based on military tactics used by Alexander the Great - yes - history battles won by a smaller military force. The Kurds would be wise to disengage the Turkish military on Syrian soil - mass their troops and take the fight to Turkish soil - en mass. Circumvent the Turkish forces and attack their supply lines and inactive Turkish military on the Turkish side of the border with a full fledged military assault - requiring the Turks to bring their troops home to fight the real war against the Kurds. And take as many prisoners of war as possible, not giving up an inch of conquered Turkish territory. And, where to attack? Don't redeploy Kurdish troops to Afrin, but redeploy them at Manjib and attack Turkey from there. Then, you have US troops behind your rear. Good luck and heed these words of wisdom to prevail.
Anthony | 9/3/2018
@GrinOlsson While I agree it would be somewhat foolish to throw all their forces into the defense of Afrin you have to understand that Afrin has had a large Kurdish population since the times of Salahudin.Many of the YPG/J/SDF fighters families have lived in Afrin for centuries!Should they withdraw and allow Turkey and ISIS to butcher and slaughter the population of Afrin to be replaced by occupants more acceptable to Erdogan without any resistance?

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