US-backed force halt anti-IS operation following Turkey strikes in Syria

US-backed force halt anti-IS operation following Turkey strikes in Syria
Turkish air strikes on Kurdish fighters in Syria have led to the US-backed force suspending operations against IS.
2 min read
31 October, 2018
The SDF is leading the campaign against IS in Syria [Getty]
US-backed forces in Syria have halted operations against the Islamic State group, following Turkish strikes on their positions earlier this week.

The Syrian Democratic Forces announced they would temporarily suspend their offensive on an IS pocket of territory in Deir az-Zour - close to the Iraq border - following Turkish shelling in Kobane, northern Syria.

"[The Turkish attacks] are the reason for a long term suspension of our military campaign against [IS], which is what Turkey wants," the SDF said in a statement on Wednesday night, according to Rudaw.

"This direct coordination between the Turkish Army attacks in the north and the attacks of [IS] in the south against our forces led to the temporary stopping of the fight to defeat terror," the movement added.

The SDF claimed that Turkey's military fired on Kurdish positions three times over the past four days, killing one fighter and injuring several others.

The Kurdish People's Protection Forces (YPG), is a leading component in the SDF - a group which is said to have close ties with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) - a banned organisation, which is viewed as a terrorist group by Ankara.

The SDF offensive on the Hajin pocket began in early September and has seen heavy fighting between the two sides, with IS launching a number of counter-attacks on the Kurdish-led force.

At least 70 SDF fighters died since IS' started its counter-offensive on Friday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

The SDF have led the military campaign against IS forces in Syria, backed by US-led coalition air support, capturing the group's self-declared "capital", Raqqa.

IS now controls just a small amount of territory is Syria's eastern desert region.

American and French troops have also served as advisers in the operations against IS.

Agencies contributed to this story.