War on ISIS unites Syrian Kurds, Arabs and Christians

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Members of the YPG, YPJ and Syriac Military Council gather during a break in the suburb of the recently liberated town of al-Hawl. They all fight under the umbrella of the Syrian Democratic Forces. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

HASAKAH – Subsequent to recapturing the key town of al-Hawl from the radical group of Islamic State (ISIS), the Kurdish-Arab joint alliance of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by an air cover from the U.S.-led coalition, started heading to the ISIS-held Shaddadi city and the rest of the occupied areas in Hasakah province, northeastern Syria, SDF top commanders reported.  

Shaddadi, located at a distance of 46km south of Hasaka city, is still under ISIS control with some nearby villages.

Speaking to ARA News in Hasakah, Adnan al-Ahmad, commander in chief of Shams ash-Shamal brigades which fight in the SDF ranks, said there is a high degree of coordination between the various factions of the SDF.

“ISIS is declining on the ground day by day. Our advance will continue against this terror group. Recapturing the strategic town of al-Hawl was just a first step towards the great victory,” he said.

“After liberating al-Hawl and its surrounding villages, we are heading to the group’s second main bastion Shaddadi south of Hasakah,” he added. 

After losing al-Hawl, ISIS’s military and economic situation may deteriorate due to the cut of a main supply route between the group’s strongholds in Syria and Iraq.

The commander pointed out that their joint forces will successively combat ISIS in Tishreen Dam, Raqqa, and Jarablus, crossing the group-held cities of Manbij, al-Raee and al-Bab down to Afrin on the border with Turkey. 

Kurdish female fighters of the Women Protection Units (YPJ) have also participated in the recent anti-ISIS operations in Hasakah under the umbrella of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). 

YPJ commander Torhildan told ARA News: “We have participated in the fighting front of al-Hawl alongside the YPG forces and the Arab and Christian allies.” 

“The Kurdish female fighters in Rojava (Syrian Kurdish region) were able to prove their military capabilities hand in hand with Christian and Yezidi female fighters in the battlefields against ISIS terrorists,” she said. 

Speaking to ARA News, Alwan al-Shammari, leading member in al-Sanadeed force, which also takes parts in the joint alliance, said: “Since we started our anti-ISIS campaign, we helped civilians to evacuate the town of al-Hawl to avoid any accidental explosions of mines planted by the terror group inside the residential areas.”

“After liberating al-Hawl, the SDF’s engineering units have dismantled the planted mines. Afterwards, we called for civilians to return to their houses and farms in order to continue their normal lives,” he said, pointing out “our forces will provide them with protection.”

Qehreman, commander in chief of Liwaa at-Tahreer of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), told ARA News: “We took part in the anti-terror campaign, joining the SDF due to the lack of other open fronts against terrorists (ISIS) in our areas surrounding Kobane and Raqqa.”

“We and the SDF have a common enemy which is Daesh,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

“Warplanes of the U.S.-led coalition has a key role in our advance against Daesh” the commander told ARA News.

He pointed out that the high coordination among the joint factions (SDF) “will definitely lead to the liberation of the entire Syrian soil from the grip of the terror group”.

“What was delaying operations was the random distribution of mines planted by the hardline group in the vicinity of al-Hawl, as well as the car bomb attacks on our checkpoints,” Qehreman said.

“The coalition aircraft decreased the number of our casualties since they hit ISIS’s frontlines, causing big losses to the group,” he concluded. 

The battle for al-Hawl was launched on October 30, during which the SDF was able to recapture the town within two weeks. 

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) includeKurdish forces of the YPG and YPJ, the Syriac Military Council, the Arab tribal group of al-Sanadeed, al-Jazeera brigades, Jaish al-Thuwar group, and of Burkan al-Furat battalion.

Reporting by: Siber Haji and Qehreman Miste  

Source: ARA News

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