SDF halts joint ops with U.S.-led coalition in Syria
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has stopped all joint counter-terrorism operations after intense Turkish air strikes on its area of control, Reuters reported on Friday.
SDF Spokesperson Aram Henna told Reuters that "all coordination and joint counter-terrorism operations with the coalition" as well as "all the joint special operations we were carrying out regularly" had had been halted.
Following the explosion that hit Istanbul’s historic Istiklal Avenue on November 13, Turkey has launched an aerial bombardment into Northern Syria, targeting People’s Protection Units (YPG), which forms the backbone of the SDF.
Since the launching of the airstrikes on Nov.19, Turkish officials including President Recep Tayyip frequently say that the aerial operation will be followed by a land offensive. Erdogan said Turkish military will carry out a ground offensive when “convenient”.
The SDF has long warned that fighting off a new Turkish incursion would divert resources away from protecting a prison holding IS fighters or targeting ISIS (Islamic State) sleeper cells still waging hit-and-run attacks in Syria.
Mazloum Abdi, the chief commander of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Tuesday called on Washington for a “stronger” warning for Turkey in order to prevent a Turkish ground offensive into Northern Syria.
Despite receiving “clear” assurances from the US and Russia that they both opposed a Turkish ground operation, Abdi said they are still nervous.
“We need stronger, more solid statements to stop Turkey," Abdi said.
Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder earlier said the number of joint patrols with SDF were reduced upon their request.