News / Middle East

    Kurdish-led Forces Use Former Syrian Regime Base to Attack IS

    FILE - Iraqi Kurdish forces take part in an operation backed by US-led airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria, Nov. 12, 2015.
    FILE - Iraqi Kurdish forces take part in an operation backed by US-led airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria, Nov. 12, 2015.
    Zana Omar

    Using what was a strategic military base for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Kurdish-led forces are preparing an assault against an Islamic State stronghold in northeastern Syria.

    Syrian forces fled the base last year and IS fighters took it over. The Syrian Democratic Forces — a group of Kurdish, Arab and Christian fighters — gained control of the base from IS in the southern part of Hasaka a few weeks ago.

    Amid the ruins of war left over by IS, Kurds are looking for more advances against the group.

    "Our goal is to free the entire southern Hasaka region from Daesh," Kurdish Colonel Talal Silo, a spokesperson of the SDF, told VOA using the Arabic acronym for IS.

    IS maintains a strong presence in al-Shaddadi, 60 kilometers south of al-Khamaiel town, where the SDF is now in control. The Kurds hope to use newly liberated areas as a staging point to make additional advances.

    "Taking over areas such as al-Khamaiel is strategically important for our forces," Silo said.

    FILE - Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters take up positions inside a damaged building in Hasaka city, as they monitor the movements of Islamic State fighters in 2015.
    FILE - Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters take up positions inside a damaged building in Hasaka city, as they monitor the movements of Islamic State fighters in 2015.

    So far, there have been sporadic clashes between IS militants and SDF fighters, according to military sources.

    ‘Defensive crouch’

    U.S.-led coalition airstrikes have played a decisive role in retaking larger swaths from IS fighters, local forces said.

    "Our partnership with the U.S.-led coalition has been steady," Silo said. "And it will only continue to do so."

    In southern Hasaka, coalition forces have coordinated closely with the SDF as its local partner in the war on IS.

    "Coalition forces get involved as needed," Orkesh Ceziri, a commander with the Kurdish YPG, the main group that comprises the SDF, told VOA during a visit to the base this week.

    "They hit Daesh positions based on battle needs," he said.

    Coalition officials say the IS militants have been losing ground in Syria, with the help of airstrikes from coalition warplanes.

    "When our airstrikes are coupled with local ground operations, we see ISIL [IS] having to react and move around the battlefield. This just makes it easier for us to strike them," said U.S. Colonel Steve Warren during a recent video briefing from Baghdad.

    "We believe that ISIL is now in a defensive crouch," he said.

    VOA's Sirwan Kajjo contributed to this report from Washington.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: williweb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
    January 11, 2016 10:38 PM
    All it takes to defeat IS are dedicated, capable ground forces backed by close coordination with the US-led coalition. They are closing in on IS and will defeat them.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora