November 04, 2018

Kurdish SDF caught between Turkish, US aims in Syria

Featuring Nicholas Heras

Source: The Arab Weekly

Journalist Simon Cordall

The Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) finds itself torn between competing war aims of its US allies and Turkish opponents as the SDF declared a pause in the battle to reclaim one of the remaining pockets held by the Islamic State (ISIS) in eastern Syria.

As the SDF fought to take control of the region, Turkish shelling increased on Kurdish positions in northern Syria, splintering the loyalties of the United States’ principal ally in the country and leading the SDF to announce a pause in operations at the eastern Syrian city of Hajin on October 31.

An unlikely final redoubt, Hajin, on a bend of the Euphrates River and with a population of 60,000, few major streets and one public hospital, has proven nearly impregnable.

Hajin fell under ISIS control in 2013 and the terror group increased the number of its fighters in the town after its caliphate began to fall in 2016. It established a tunnel network under Hajin and built up relations with the area’s tribal population to further entrench itself in the area’s daily life.

Read the full article and more in The Arab Weekly.

  • Nicholas Heras

    Fellow, Middle East Security Program

    Nicholas A. Heras is a Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), working in the Middle East Security Program. He is also a Senior Analyst at the Jamestown Found...