JEDDAH: A US-led coalition fighting terrorists resumed regular patrols in Kurdish-held areas of northeast Syria on Friday after earlier Turkish airstrikes.
Patrols were reduced following the Turkish strikes that began on Nov. 20 in Kurdish-controlled areas of Syria and Iraq, in response to a deadly Istanbul bombing that Ankara blamed on Kurdish groups.
Hundreds of American troops are in Syria as part of the fight against remnants of Daesh.
Two four-vehicle patrols bearing US flags set off separately from a base in Rmeilan in Hasakah province. A vehicle belonging to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces accompanied each convoy, which traveled in different directions toward Syria’s borders.
The usual 20 weekly patrols had dropped to around five or six following the Turkish strikes.
The US supports the SDF, which is the Kurds’ de facto army in the area, and led the battle that dislodged Daesh from the last scraps of their Syrian territory in 2019.
Turkiye said it struck targets of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units, which dominate the SDF but which Ankara sees as an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor with a vast network of sources on the ground, said patrols were also seen on Friday in Deir Ezzor province further south.
The SDF has long warned that fighting off a new Turkish incursion would divert resources away from protecting a prison holding Daesh fighters or fighting Daesh sleeper cells still waging hit-and-run attacks in Syria.
Sheikhmous Ahmed, the head of the displacement department in Syria’s northeast, said that Turkish raids in late November had disrupted operations in and around Al-Hol, a detention camp where women and children affiliated with Daesh fighters are held.