US allies in Syria ISIS fight face open revolts

SDF Revolt 2


“The only winner here is ISIS.”

About 90 people have been killed in new violence that threatens to divide the U.S. military’s partners in Syria in the fight against the Islamic State group.

Roughly 900 U.S. troops are deployed to Syria on a mission to prevent ISIS from reconstituting its caliphate, which was destroyed in 2019. America’s primary ally in the country has been the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, a predominantly Kurdish organization that also includes Arab and Turkmen militias.

But the ties binding the anti-ISIS alliance began to fray after the SDF arrested the head of an Arab-majority militia on Aug. 27, leading to open fighting with Arab tribesmen in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor region.

At least 90 people have been killed in the fighting so far, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group based in Britain that documents human rights abuses in Syria.

Elsewhere in northeast Syria, the SDF has clashed with the Syrian National Army, or SNA – a different rebel group that is backed by Turkey – in Al-Hasakah province, leaving 23 people dead in a separate outbreak of violence.

On Aug. 27, the SDF launched “Operation Security Reinforcement” in Deir ez-Zor, which it said targeted ISIS terrorist cells along with “criminals responsible for perpetrating injustices against the local population.”

U.S. and coalition forces were not involved with the operation, said Army Maj. Geoffrey Carmichael, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led alliance against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

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