US: Turkey prevents fight against ISIS in Syria
The US-led coalition has had to scale back its fight against ISIS in eastern Syria as scores of commanders from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have left the area to battle Turkish forces in the northwestern town of Afrin, Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon said.
"Clearly, with the amount of fighters that have left - the SDF had announced 1,700 - a lot of those are, and I’ll be very blunt about this as well, the majority of the leadership of these elements are Kurdish. So a lot of the leaders of these elements in the Middle Euphrates River Valley have departed. We’ve been limited now in our ability to conduct intensive operations and really put the pressure on the ISIS terror group," he noted.
Dillon said while the vast majority of SDF fighters have remained behind to continue battling ISIS, the loss of allied military leaders has taken its toll on anti-terror operations.
The spokesman said that most of the newer recruits to the SDF, which was previously a predominantly Kurdish force, are Arab. He added that Arab fighters currently make up the majority of the SDF's forces, while Kurds are now a minority.
"Local security forces in Syria's Raqqa are preventing civilians from returning because the city is still riddled with scores of booby traps planted by ISIS," Sputnik cited Dillon as saying.