Tag Archives: USbacked

US-backed Syria force says IS territorial defeat is near

US-backed Syria force says IS territorial defeat is nearBAGHOUZ, Syria (AP) — The sound of mortar shelling and fighter jets whizzing by filled the air.



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US-backed Syrian forces battle to take last IS pocket

US-backed Syrian forces battle to take last IS pocketSyrian fighters backed by artillery fire from a US-led coalition battled a fierce jihadist counteroffensive as they pushed to retake a last morsel of territory from the Islamic State group in an assault lasting days. More than four years after the extremists declared a “caliphate” across large parts of Syria and neighbouring Iraq, several offensives have whittled that down to a tiny scrap of land in eastern Syria. The final push to expel hundreds of diehard jihadists from that patch on the Iraq border was announced Saturday by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).



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'Heavy clashes' as US-backed forces make final push against IS

'Heavy clashes' as US-backed forces make final push against ISUS-backed forces were locked in fierce fighting Sunday as they pressed the battle against the last shred of the Islamic State group’s “caliphate” in eastern Syria. The jihadists overran large parts of the country and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, but various military offensives have since reduced that territory to a patch on the Iraqi border. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), supported by a US-led coalition, announced a final push to retake the jihadist pocket late Saturday, after a pause of more than a week to allow civilians to flee.



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US-backed Syria force announces final push against IS

US-backed Syria force announces final push against ISThe US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said Saturday it had begun the “final battle” to oust the Islamic State group from the last scrap of territory it holds in eastern Syria. IS overran large parts of the country and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, declaring a “caliphate” there, but various military offensives have reduced it to a fragment. Backed by air strikes of the US-led coalition against IS, the Kurdish-Arab alliance has in recent months cornered the jihadists in a final pocket of territory in Syria’s eastern province of Deir Ezzor.



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The Latest: US-backed SDF returns Kazakh IS fighters

The Latest: US-backed SDF returns Kazakh IS fightersBEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the war in Syria (all times local):



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US-backed forces retake IS hub in east Syria: monitor

US-backed forces retake IS hub in east Syria: monitorKurdish-dominated forces backed by air strikes by a US-led coalition retook full control of a key jihadist hub in eastern Syria on Friday, a war monitor said. The Syrian Democratic Forces secured Hajin, the largest settlement in what is the last pocket of territory controlled by the Islamic State group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. “After a week of heavy fighting and air strikes, the SDF were able to kick IS out of Hajin,” Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based monitoring organisation, said.



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Turkey vows to take on US-backed Kurdish militia in Syria

Turkey vows to take on US-backed Kurdish militia in SyriaANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey will launch a new military operation against U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria "within a few days," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday, a move likely to further strain ties between NATO allies Turkey and the United States.



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US-backed group in last push to defeat IS in northeast Syria

US-backed group in last push to defeat IS in northeast SyriaBEIRUT (AP) — A U.S.-backed Syrian fighting force said Tuesday it has begun the final stage of its campaign to clear Islamic State group militants from northeast Syria.



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Turkey launches offensive against Syrian city held by US-backed Kurdish forces

Turkey launches offensive against Syrian city held by US-backed Kurdish forcesTurkish warplanes stuck residential parts of Syria’s Afrin on Saturday, forcing people to hole up in their homes and shelters, as Ankara launched an offensive to smash positions held by US-backed Kurdish forces. Hevi Mustafa, a top member of the civilian administration that governs the city in the northwest of Syria, said several wounded people had arrived in the hospitals. "As of this moment our brave armed forces have started the aerial offensive to eliminate the PYD and PKK and Daesh elements in Afrin," said Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said, referring to the Kurdish Democratic Union Party and the Kurdistan Worker's Party respectively, and using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group. Associated Press journalists at the Turkish border saw at least five jets heading toward Afrin. They also witnessed a convoy of buses, believed to be carrying Syrian opposition fighters, traveling along the border across from Afrin. The convoy included trucks mounted with machine guns. A senior Turkish official said the jets hit positions held by US-backed SDF militias. The militias had said any attack would be “sudden and unjustified” and “breathe new life” into Islamic State. Turkey has been shelling the area for two days, while Syria had warned it would shoot down any Turkish planes over its territory. Ankara, which claims the offensive will provide safety to its Turkey’s borders and the region, informed foreign governments involved in Syria about the attack, which began at 5pm local time and has been codenamed Operation Olive Branch. A military aircraft of Turkish Air Force lands at the Incirlik 10th Tanker Base Command in Saricam district, in Adana after Turkish military started the''Operation Olive Branch'' in Afrin on January 20, 2018. Credit: Anadolu Agency  Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has discussed Turkey's military offensive in Syria with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Separately, Turkey's chief of military staff Hulusi Akar spoke with his US and Russian counterparts, Turkish media reports said. Ministry officials said Saturday Tillerson requested a telephone conversation with Cavusoglu. They did not provide further details. Graphic: Areas of control in Syria Saturday's attack follows Turkish anger at a US announcement of plans to create a 30,000 Kurdish-led "border security force" along the border of Turkey. Tillerson later said the US plans were "misrepresented," in an apparent bid to appease Turkey. Russia has removed its military observers  from the Kurdish-run city. Moscow has said it will demand Turkey halt military operation in Afrin in support of its Syrian allies. At 7.30pm local time, Russia pulled back troops deployed close to Afrin to Tell-Afjar, which is within the de-escalation zone established in September. The Defence Ministry said the decisions was made “to prevent possible provocations” and to “exclude the threat to life and health of Russian servicemen”. Rojhat Roj, a spokesman for the Syrian Kurdish militia group, confirmed that a Turkish plane struck Afrin city. Smoke rises from the Syria's Afrin region, as it is pictured from near the Turkish town of Hassa, on the Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay province Credit: Osman Orsal/Reuters  



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Turkey launches ground offensive in northern Syria against US-backed militias

Turkey launches ground offensive in northern Syria against US-backed militiasTurkish ground forces entered Syria’s Afrin province on Sunday morning in a bid to oust US-backed Kurdish militias from the border between the two countries. The escalation comes on the second day of Turkey’s “Operation Olive Branch”, which began on Saturday with a barrage of air strikes on the Kurdish YPG militia in the same province. Turkey said it wanted to create a 30km safe zone around Afrin, deep inside Syria, representing a new phase of Turkish involvement in the country's civil war. Hours after ground forces entered the country, a missile fired in Syria hit the Turkish border town of Reyhanli, killing a Syrian national and wounding 32 people. Turkey made its move just a week after the US announced it was working to create a new Syrian Border Security Force by backing Syrian Democratic Forces, which include militia from the Kurdish YPG. The Turkish government regards the YPG as a terrorist organisation closely tied to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, which has carried out a bloody three-year insurgency in Turkey’s southeast. Graphic: Areas of control in Syria Despite a call for restraint by France, which wants an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, Turkish officials have taken a zero-tolerance line in northern Syria. Foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu declared on Sunday that anyone who opposes Turkey’s operation there is siding with terrorists and will be treated accordingly. The ground invasion draws Turkey risks a confrontation with its NATO ally the US, which closely backs the YPG as its partner against Isil and as a border guard force in the Euphrates area. Ibrahim Kalin, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman, said on Twitter: "In its second day, The Olive Branch Operation continues to ensure peace and security for our people, protect Syria's territorial integrity and eliminate all terrorist elements in the region." In comments that appeared to be aimed at Washington, he added: "Turkey expects its allies to support its fight against terrorism in all of its forms." However, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag later ruled out any clashes with US troops. "It is out of the question to have a direct clash between Turkey and the US in the region," he said. Early on Sunday morning, before the invasion was announced, Turkey claimed four rockets struck the border town of Kilis, wounding one person and causing damage to buildings. Turkey retaliated with a volley of artillery towards YPG positions in northern Syria. Mr Erdogan told a crowd of supporters in northwestern Turkey on Sunday that “there is no stepping back” from the mission to clear Afrin of YPG.   "We are not alone . . . Allah is with us," Mr Erdogan said: "God willing, this operation will come to an end in a short time." The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Turkish shelling  on the village of Jalbara killed eight civilians, including at least one child. Return fire saw one Syrian refugee killed and 32 people wounded on a Turkish town close to the Syrian border. Sunday’s invasion had been hinted at for several weeks by Ankara, and Mr Erdogan has promised to expand the operation to other Kurdish regions. The US has tried to maintain a balance between its NATO alliances and Syrian battlefield politics, but this position is growing less tenable. Just a week ago, a coalition spokesman confirmed that half of the new 30,000-strong Syrian Border Security Force would come from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group dominated by Syrian Kurds belonging to the very YPG militias in Turkey’s crosshairs.



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