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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

US-Backed SDF Targets IS Militants in Eastern Syria

By Sirwan Kajjo December 27, 2020

U.S.-backed forces are carrying out new raids against militants affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) terror group in eastern Syria.

The new campaign led by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) targets remnants of IS in Deir al-Zour province, which borders Iraq.

The SDF, a Kurdish-led military alliance, said its ongoing operations have been focused on active IS cells in the northern part of the province.

"On December 26, our Special Forces and International Coalition Forces arrested a member of a terrorist cell north of Deir al-Zour, during a joint raid operation," the SDF said in a statement Sunday.

The SDF added that its forces also seized "quantities of ammunition" during the same operation.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the SDF Sunday carried out additional raids, which were supported by the U.S.-led Global Coalition to Defeat IS. The war monitor has researchers across war-torn Syria.

Despite its territorial defeat in March 2019, IS continues to carry out terror attacks against civilians and SDF forces in Deir al-Zour and other parts of eastern Syria.

In recent weeks, IS cells have intensified their activity in the area. According to the Syrian Observatory, an SDF fighter was killed and another wounded after an explosive device targeted their vehicle Saturday in Deir al-Zour's al-Shuhail town.

IS militants also have increased their attacks against Syrian government troops and allied militias in the country's desert and other parts of central Syria.

Earlier this month, the SDF said its counterterrorism units captured six IS militants in the countryside of Deir al-Zour and Hasaka provinces.

Last week, the U.S.-led coalition said its local partners in northeast Syria are an important part of the fight against IS.

"As our partners continue to show their capabilities in the fight, it is important for the Coalition to continue to build relationships as part of (its) support (for) stabilization," the coalition said on Twitter.

Experts say while IS currently has no capability to hold territory in Syria or Iraq, the militant group will likely continue to carry out major attacks in both countries.

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