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Exclusive - YPG Ready to Take Part in Operations to Expel ISIS from Syria’s Sweida

Exclusive - YPG Ready to Take Part in Operations to Expel ISIS from Syria’s Sweida

Sunday, 5 August, 2018 - 05:45
Smoke is seen following an explosion at the Syrian side of the Israeli-Syrian border as it is seen from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Israel July 23, 2018. (Reuters)
London - Ibrahim Hamidi

Head of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) Siban Hamo voiced his forces’ readiness to “protect” Syria’s Sweida region and its Druze residents from ISIS in wake of last month’s attack against the region by the terrorist group.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat: “ISIS launched barbaric attacks against our people in Sweida. The pain of the Druze is the same pain we felt in Kobane (Ain al-Arab) and Afrin (where Turkish forces and opposition factions waged an operation earlier in the year).”

“We do not distinguish between these attacks and those against Sweida. The YPG is ready to dispatch forces to liberate it from terrorism,” he declared.

In late July, some 250 people were killed in ISIS attacks and suicide bombings, the fiercest in years on the predominantly Druze Sweida region.

Since then, the locals have been on high alert to confront ISIS and expel it from the region’s administrative border. Attacks have been anticipated by the group from eastern and western fronts.

The Syrian regime is, meanwhile, preparing to launch an offensive on the eastern and western Sweida countryside.

Hamo added that the YPG has proven its success in combating ISIS and terrorists, citing its liberation, as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), of a third of Syria from the group’s clutches.

On the Idlib front, Hamo revealed that the regime does not so far have a “clear plan” to launch an operation in the northwestern region.

Members of the SDF and its political wing, the Democratic Union Party, have voiced their readiness to take part in such an operation and another in Afrin, should the regime decide to launch one

Hamo added: “We have no proposals to make as long as the regime does not have a clear plan.”

He revealed that the YPG is continuing its military operations in Afrin and they will grow in intensity with time.

He made his remarks soon after the SDF announced that it had seized complete control of the Syrian-Iraqi borders as part of Operation Jazeera Storm that was backed by the US-led international coalition to defeat ISIS.

A senior Kurdish official told Asharq Al-Awsat on Saturday that American officials have confirmed to the SDF on several occasions that they were remaining in northeastern Syria,

“We were informed by the American military that they were remaining there to prevent the return of ISIS and the emergence of a vacuum that could either be filled by extremism or Iran,” he added.

He revealed that the SDF had also reached an agreement with the military on a plan for 2018-19 to hold military trainings and combat sleeper ISIS cells.

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