News / Middle East

    US-backed Syrian Alliance Reports Gains Against IS

    Islamic State fighters sit on a pickup truck while being held as prisoners by fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces near Ash Shaddadi, Hasakah province, Syria, Feb. 18, 2016.
    Islamic State fighters sit on a pickup truck while being held as prisoners by fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces near Ash Shaddadi, Hasakah province, Syria, Feb. 18, 2016.
    Zana Omar

    A U.S.-backed alliance of Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters is making headway against Islamic State militants in northeast Syria as a part of a major coalition operation to drive IS out of a strategic town bordering Iraq.

    The Syrian Democratic Forces, backed by coalition airstrikes, captured tens of villages and cut off a major IS supply route between Iraq and Syria, according to a VOA reporter on the scene. The move is part of a "Rage of Ash Shaddadi Operation” started Thursday to push jihadists out of the strategic Syrian town.

    The SDF fighters told VOA they reached Ash Shaddadi on Friday and now fully control the town.

    “We have cut off IS’s supply line between Raqqa and Ash Shaddadi town to prevent IS gangs from moving supplies to Raqqa,” Lewend Ahmed, an SDF fighter, told VOA.

    Ash Shaddadi has served as IS’s main supply route between two of its most important strongholds, the cities of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria. Control of the town will ultimately isolate Raqqa, IS's de facto capital, Kurdish commanders told VOA.

    The SDF fighters argue that the control of the town will also secure Hasakah province, a self-declared Kurdish autonomous canton in northern Syria.

    “Ash Shaddadi has its own importance for Cizire canton [Kurdish for Hasakah], because it is the final line where IS could attack the canton,” the SDF commander, Dilsher Qamishlo, told VOA.

    The SDF was established in late 2015 as an alliance of some Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters.

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    by: Anonymous
    February 20, 2016 2:10 PM
    A guide on who is who in Syria:

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: A Single Sunni refugee in London, biased against the Syrian Government.

    FSA, Nusra Front, Turkmen Brigades: b.s names, used by the western media to avoid using AQ, since all these groups are AQ.

    AQ in Syria is also called "moderate rebels", "opposition".

    The AQ (opposition) in the negotiations table, is misleadingly called High Negotiations Committee (HNC), where in fact it is a collection of AQ groups supported by Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

    The Kurds are not invited to negotiations, because Turkey opposed the Kurds presence in the negotiations.

    The Syrian Government, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and The Kurds: Fighting ISIS and AQ, not just ISIS, but ISIS and AQ (above-mentioned groups).

    Saudi Arabia and Turkey: support ISIS and AQ (the above-mentioned AQ groups and several more).

    The west, NATO and especially Britain and part of the US including presidential candidate Clinton: support Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

    AQ in Syria are mostly foreign Chechens, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Tunisians, Saudis and Turks, imported by Turkey via Turkey into Syria.

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