Syrian Democratic Forces Halt Operation with US-led Coalition

Members of Syrian Democratic Forces  - Asharq Al-Awsat
Members of Syrian Democratic Forces - Asharq Al-Awsat
TT

Syrian Democratic Forces Halt Operation with US-led Coalition

Members of Syrian Democratic Forces  - Asharq Al-Awsat
Members of Syrian Democratic Forces - Asharq Al-Awsat

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has stopped all joint counter-terrorism operations as a result of Turkish bombardment on its area of control, spokesman Aram Henna said Friday.

SDF is a US-backed group that helped defeat ISIS militants in Syria.

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.

Turkey has ramped up its shelling and air strikes on northern Syria in recent weeks and is preparing a ground invasion against Syrian Kurdish fighters that it dubs terrorists but which make up the bulk of the US-supported SDF.

The SDF has long warned that fighting off a new Turkish incursion would divert resources away from protecting a prison holding ISIS militants or targeting ISIS sleeper cells still waging hit-and-run attacks in Syria.

Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Patrick Ryder earlier told reporters that operations against ISIS had not stopped.

SDF head Mazloum Abdi earlier this week told Reuters he wanted a "stronger" message from Washington after seeing unprecedented Turkish deployments along the border.

"We are still nervous. We need stronger, more solid statements to stop Turkey," he said. "Turkey has announced its intent and is now feeling things out. The beginning of an invasion will depend on how it analyses the positions of other countries."



Hamas’ Armed Wing Says Israeli Airstrike Killed Two Hostages in Rafah

12 June 2024, Palestinian Territories, Khan Younis: Tents for displaced Palestinians at al-Mawasi area in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. (Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)
12 June 2024, Palestinian Territories, Khan Younis: Tents for displaced Palestinians at al-Mawasi area in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. (Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)
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Hamas’ Armed Wing Says Israeli Airstrike Killed Two Hostages in Rafah

12 June 2024, Palestinian Territories, Khan Younis: Tents for displaced Palestinians at al-Mawasi area in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. (Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)
12 June 2024, Palestinian Territories, Khan Younis: Tents for displaced Palestinians at al-Mawasi area in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. (Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)

Hamas' armed wing al-Qassam Brigades said on Friday that two Israeli hostages held in Gaza were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Rafah a few days ago.

The group, in a video posted on its Telegram channel, did not release the names of those said to have been killed or provide any evidence.

The Israeli government "does not want your hostages to return, except in coffins," the al-Qassam Brigades statement said.

Israel rescued four hostages held by Hamas in a hostage-freeing operation in central Gaza's al-Nuseirat on June 8. The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said more than 250 Palestinians were killed in the raid.

The war in Gaza erupted when Hamas fighters stormed southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel has responded with a military assault on the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza health ministry. Israel says its campaign is intended to eliminate Hamas as a threat and free the remaining hostages.