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Kurdish Forces Announce IS Defeat in Eastern Syria

FILE - A road sign welcomes people to the town of Deir el-Zour in Syria, Sept. 20, 2017.

Kurdish forces in Syria announced Sunday that they had regained control of a key area east of the Euphrates river from Islamic State militants.

The People's Protection Units (YPG) thanked Russian forces as well as the United States-led coalition for logistical and air support in retaking Deir al-Zour's eastern countryside.

Speaking at a news conference Sunday, YPG's spokesperson Noureddine Mahmoud said that he hoped for more coordination with the two international powers.

A day earlier, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis suggested the United States will move away from arming Syrian Kurdish fighters, as part of a wider shift from a military-led to a diplomatic-led approach in Syria.

Last week, Turkey, which considers the YPG a terrorist organization, claimed that U.S. President Donald Trump said the U.S. would stop arming Kurdish fighters in Syria.

The YPG, the backbone of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, bore the brunt of the fighting to clear IS forces from their self-proclaimed capital in Raqqa, Syria.