Kurdish forces are planning to use a key Syrian military base in northeast Syria to launch an attack on the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS).
“Our goal is to free the entire southern Hasaka region from Daesh,” stated Kurdish Colonel Talal Silo of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to Voice of America.
The SDF captured the base from the Islamic State last summer. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the Islamic State attacked Hasaka, which also “drew in the Kurdish YPG,” backed by the U.S., in June. The SDF and YPG emerged victorious in late July.
The SDF will keep Hasaka safe with the base if the Islamic State advances. They also control Khamaiel, which is two miles away from Hasaka and 37 miles from the Islamic State’s Shaddadi.
The victory allowed the U.S.-led coalition to attack the Islamic State in villages around Hasaka. Over 200 villages were freed from their grips in the fall.
“Taking over areas such as al-Khamaiel is strategically important for our forces,” continued Silo.
Arabs and Assyrian Christians joined the SDF in October to attack Raqqa, Syria, which is the de-facto capital for their Caliphate.
“The sensitive stage our country Syria is going through and rapid developments on the military and political front … require that there be a united national military force for all Syrians, joining Kurds, Arabs, [Assyrians] and other groups,” said a YPG spokesman.
In November, the Islamic State pushed out their families in Shaddadi, just south of Hasaka, because of the SDF and YPG advances. The SDF set their eyes on Shaddadi, but the Islamic State still controls the city.
However, the SDF and the coalition believe they put the terrorists in a “defensive crouch.”
“When our airstrikes are coupled with local ground operations, we see ISIL [IS] having to react and move around the battlefield. This just makes it easier for us to strike them,” explained U.S. Colonel Steve Warren from Baghdad.
The coalition helps the SDF and other Kurdish forces push out the Islamic State from key places.
“Our partnership with the U.S.-led coalition has been steady,” said Silo. “And it will only continue to do so,” he added.
One of the largest victories for the Kurds occurred in January 2015 when the forces liberated Kobani, an important Syrian border town, after four months. The town sits on the border of Turkey, which helped the Islamic State because many foreign jihadists traveled through the NATO country to Syria.