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Syria's Kurds launch offensive against Daesh militants

By AFP - Dec 29,2022 - Last updated at Dec 29,2022

US-backed forces are photographed near the village of Susah in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, near the Syrian border with Iraq (AFP photo)

BEIRUT — Syrian Kurdish-led forces said on Thursday they had launched an offensive against Daesh terror group, days after gunmen launched a deadly prison attack.

Six Kurdish fighters were killed Monday when Daesh militants attacked a complex in Raqqa, the terrorists group's former de facto capital in Syria, in a bid to free fellow militants imprisoned there.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said the offensive, dubbed "Operation Al Jazeera Thunderbolt", aimed to "eliminate" Daesh gunmen from areas that had been "the source of the recent terrorist attacks".

The SDF said the operation was being carried out alongside the US-backed coalition, although there was no immediate confirmation from the international force that they were taking part.

The SDF statement said that in addition to the thwarted Raqqa attack, Daesh militants had recently carried out eight assaults in the northern Syrian areas of Deir Ezzor, Hasakeh and the Al Hol camp for displaced people, which houses family members of Daesh militants.

Referencing recent Turkish air strikes on Kurdish forces in northeast Syria, the SDF said Daesh was trying to "take advantage" of the situation by "carrying out more terrorist attacks".

After a meteoric rise in Iraq and Syria in 2014, Daesh saw its so-called caliphate collapse, but militants remain.

Supported by an international anti-jihadist coalition led by the United States, the SDF spearheaded the fight against Daesh in Syria and drove the group from its last stronghold in the country in 2019.

Daesh continues to claim attacks in Iraq and Syria, and the SDF regularly launches operations against the terrorists in Syria.

The group said Monday's attack on Raqqa aimed to avenge "Muslim prisoners" and female relatives of militants living in Al Hol camp.

In September, Kurdish authorities arrested more than 200 people in Al Hol following the discovery of tunnels and an arsenal of weapons used by militants.


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