Daesh suffers heavy losses in Syria despite Kurd pause

Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) attend the funeral of one of their commanders. (AFP)
Updated 07 November 2018

Daesh suffers heavy losses in Syria despite Kurd pause

  • Waves of US-led airstrikes since Monday have killed 28 militants
  • Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) killed another 17 Daesh fighters while defending their base in the village of Al-Bahra

At least 45 Daesh fighters have been killed around their last enclave in Syria despite a pause in a two-month Kurdish-led assault, a monitor said on Wednesday.

A Kurdish-led alliance backed by Washington announced the pause in its offensive in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor last week in protest against Turkish shelling of Kurdish areas along the northern border.

But waves of US-led airstrikes since Monday have killed 28 militants, including during an abortive Daesh assault on Tuesday on an oilfield north of the enclave, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) killed another 17 Daesh fighters while defending their base in the village of Al-Bahra just outside Daesh-held territory on Monday, the Britain-based monitoring group said.

Alliance spokesman Kino Gabriel had stressed that the pause in offensive operations did not mean SDF fighters would not defend themselves. The SDF launched its offensive against the Daesh enclave around the Euphrates Valley town of Hajin on Sept. 10.

But after making slow progress, they suffered a major setback last month when Daesh took advantage of sandstorms to launch a series of counter-attacks.

By the end of the month, they were back at square one with all of the territories they had won recaptured by the militants.

The Hajin enclave is the last significant remnant of the “caliphate” Daesh proclaimed in 2014 across a vast swathe of Syria and neighboring Iraq.

The rest has all been lost to offensives by multiple alliances on both sides of the border.

Outside the Hajin enclave, the group’s operations are confined to sleeper cells and to hideouts in unpopulated desert and mountain areas.


Syria Kurds hand over four Daesh-linked children to Germany

Updated 42 min 10 sec ago

Syria Kurds hand over four Daesh-linked children to Germany

  • They included a boy and two sisters who had lost both parents, and a fatherless girl infant
  • A spokeswoman for the German foreign ministry confirmed the handover to staff from its consulate

SIMALKA CROSSING: The Kurdish authorities in northeast Syria on Monday handed over four children linked with the Daesh group to Germany, their first such repatriation to the European country, an official said.
“The autonomous region handed over four children from Daesh families to a delegation from Germany,” said Fanar Kaeet, a foreign affairs official with the Kurdish authorities.
They included a boy and two sisters who had lost both parents, and a fatherless girl infant who was repatriated for health reasons, Kurdish authorities said.
All are under 10 years old, they said.
A spokeswoman for the German foreign ministry confirmed the handover to staff from its consulate in neighboring Iraqi Kurdistan at the Simalka border crossing.
“I can confirm that four children who were in custody in northern Syria were able to leave Syria,” she said.
“The children were received on the Iraqi-Syrian border by staff of the consulate in Irbil and will be given to family members,” the spokeswoman said.
“From there, the children and their family members will, we believe, travel to Germany.”
Syria’s Kurds have spearheaded the US-backed fight against Daesh in Syria, and in March expelled the extremists from their last patch of territory in the war-torn country’s far east.
Even as they fight remaining sleeper cells, thousands of alleged Daesh fighters and family members are being held in their custody.
These include hundreds of suspected foreign fighters in their jails, and thousands of their alleged family members in overcrowded camps.
Western countries have been largely reluctant to repatriate their nationals.
But France and Belgium have brought a handful of orphans home, while the United States last year repatriated a woman with her four children.
Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kosovo have repatriated dozens of women and children.
Daesh overran large parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a “caliphate” there, but offensives in both countries have seen them lose that territory.
A dozen children of alleged jihadist fighters have been repatriated from Iraq to Germany since March.