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Why Have the Syrian Democratic Forces Halted Their Battle Against the Islamic State?

The Syrian Democratic Forces have been attacked on two side by the Islamic State and the Turkish army, forcing them to halt operations reports Alsouria Net.
Why Have the Syrian Democratic Forces Halted Their Battle Against the Islamic State?

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militias have announced that they have temporarily halted their battle against terrorist in northern Syria, because of the Turkish bombardments of Kurdish positions.

On Wednesday, the general command of the SDF said in a statement that “the direct coordination between the Turkish army’s attacks in the north and the attacks by the Islamic State (ISIS) in the south has led to a temporary halt of a our battle against terrorists, which had led to our forces entering into the last strongholds of the terrorist group.”

The statement described the Turkish strikes as “a provocation against the only safe areas in Syria,” saying that the continuation of these attacks would cause a long-term halt in the military campaign against ISIS.

On Sunday, the Turkish army struck Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) positions in the Ain al-Arab area in the north, according to the Turkish government’s Anadolu Agency, which said four fighters were killed.

The YPG are the main component of the SDF, which receives support from Washington in its fight against ISIS in Syria, which has led to tensions between Washington and Ankara, which considers these units to be an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Western countries consider the PKK to be a “terrorist” group, but they do not treat the YPG as a terrorist group.

On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his forces had finished preparations to carry out an attack on Kurdish fighters in Syria, with two operations since 2016 having been carried out against the Islamic State and against Kurdish fighters.

Turkey fears that the establishment of a Kurdish entity on its border would lead a revival of the aspirations for independence among Kurds inside its territory.

The SDF said in a statement that the Turkish strikes across the border “lead to the martyrdom of a fighter from the Duty of Self-Defense Forces and wounded another, and caused damage to civilian property and forced them to leave their homes,” and called on the international community to condemn these attacks.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that the battle in eastern Syria entered into by Kurdish forces had stopped.

The Observatory director, Rami Abdulrahman, told the AFP that there had been movement by forces towards the front, but that now, “"on the ground, everything has come to a halt.”

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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