The SDF announced the start of operations against ISIS in Hajin on Tuesday. Photo: Syriac Military Council
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdish-led forces launched operations on Tuesday against ISIS in the town of Hajin, on the east bank of the Euphrates River in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are leading the operation with the backing of the international coalition against ISIS.
The ground operation is the third phase of Operation Roundup that began on May 1 with clearing ISIS from Baghuz, a riverside town on the Iraq-Syria border, and the Dashisha border area to the north.
Last week, the SDF and coalition dropped leaflets on Hajin, warning civilians of the impending military action and advising them to leave the town and avoid ISIS positions and fighters.
Corridors have been opened to allow safe passage of civilians and ISIS fighters and families who want to flee, according to a conflict monitor that said tens of families have escaped.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the SDF arrested 29 militants with their families in the nearby desert. Among them was a Yezidi woman who had been held captive. She was freed by the SDF.
The Observatory also reported “violent clashes” between the SDF and ISIS on the outskirts of Hajin on Monday, noting the SDF advanced on the town under heavy artillery fire.
The offensive on the town “will clear ISIS remnants from Hajin and the remaining Deir ez-Zor countryside east of the Euphrates River,” the coalition announced on Tuesday, confirming their support for their local allies in the operation.
“The multi-ethnic Syrian Democratic Forces remain committed to liberating the people of northeastern Syria from ISIS’ control and putting an end to the human suffering in the area,” said Maj. Gen. Patrick Roberson, commander of the coalition’s special ops.
“Moving forward, we will continue coordination with the SDF and other partners to promote regional security and stability that will ensure a lasting defeat of ISIS,” he added.