Roundup: Syria's Kurdish-led forces meet U.S., French representatives to discuss Turkish attacks

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-08 23:49:45|Editor: yan
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DAMASCUS, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- Commanders of the Kurdish-led forces held a meeting with representatives from the U.S. and France in northern Syria to discuss the current Turkish attacks on the Kurdish groups in northeastern Syria.

According to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Thursday, commanders of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) met with the U.S. and French representatives in the Ayn Issa area in the northwestern countryside of Raqqa province.

They discussed the Turkish attacks despite the deployment of U.S. troops between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in northern Syria.

The Britain-based watchdog group said five fighters of the SDF and a child were recently killed as a result of the Turkish targeting of Kurdish-led militia in areas on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River.

The Observatory, which says it relies on a network of activists on the ground, said the Turkish side has moved 1,200 local rebels to the Turkish territories to later deploy them near the eastern bank of the Euphrates River.

It said Turkey is attempting to put pressure on the U.S. to have its allied Syrian rebels deploy on the line between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.

The U.S. has been backing the Kurdish-led SDF for a long time in the battles against the Islamic State (IS), managing to make important achievement in defeating IS in its de facto capital of Raqqa in northern Syria in 2017.

The U.S. support continued and the SDF and allied Kurdish forces are now fighting to defeat IS from its last pocket on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour.

The SDF had a setback in the first wave of attack that was launched on Sept. 10 and is now amassing more capable forces to have another round of battles against the last IS-controlled areas in the eastern countryside of Deir al-Zour near the Iraqi border.

The plan was smoothly moving forward with activists expecting the second wave of attack to be more powerful and to achieve its intended purpose to eliminate IS in the eastern Euphrates.

However, Turkey, which has for long been outright about its enmity to the Kurdish forces, said it was ready to launch offensives against the Kurds on the eastern side of the river.

The Turkish stance reflects the desire to defeat the Kurdish militia in the eastern Euphrates after they had already pushed them to retreat from the western side of the river in two cross-border operations in 2016 and 2018.

The Turkish forces have actually started shelling positions of the Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria, pushing the U.S.-backed SDF to slow down on its second stage of battles against IS.

To ease the tension, the U.S. on Friday deployed forces along the line between the two sides of the Euphrates River to contain the situation, according to the Observatory.

It's also running joint patrols with Turkey between the Kurdish-led Manbij Military Council and the Turkish-backed rebels in the countryside of the city of Manbij.

Manbij, in the northern countryside of Aleppo, is controlled by the Manbij Military Council, which is backed by the Kurdish-led SDF, while the city's countryside is controlled by the rebels allied with Turkey within an umbrella called the Euphrates Shield.

The Observatory said the U.S. also deployed on the borderline between Turkey and Syria in the area between the rivers of Euphrates and Tigris.

Additionally, U.S. forces also deployed in the Kurdish-controlled city of Ayn Al-Arab, or Kobane, in the northern countryside of Aleppo on the eastern side of Euphrates to prevent any confrontation.