The International Coalition has been supporting the SDF in north and east Syria to put an end to the ISIS presence in the region.
William Robak, the US Special Advisor to the International Coalition, has stated that the Coalition remains steadfast in its support for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the fight against ISIS in north and east Syria.
He has reaffirmed that the International Coalition’s relationship with the SDF remains very strong, despite recent manifestations of inconsistency over the past few months.
“The adviser [Robak] has assured us that they are continuing to provide political and diplomatic support to our region, in addition to security cooperation in combating the remnants of ISIS. He also told us that they have changed their policies towards the region after the Turkish aggression on northern and eastern Syria”, stated the co-chair of the Raqqa Civil Council.
In the second half of 2019, US President Donald Trump had announced the withdrawal of troops from Syria. The process of withdrawal began gradually towards the end of the year, especially following the Turkish-backed military operation called Operation Peace Spring in October.
Nevertheless, International Coalition troops, of which US personnel make up the majority, have remained in the region in order to contain the ISIS presence there. Some of the units have been transferred across the border to Iraq, the join anti-ISIS operations there, however, the plan to completely withdraw all Coalition troops from Syria has been reversed in light of recent military developments and a fear that ISIS would be given the opportunity to regroup.
The SDF was forced to shift its focus to military clashes with Turkish-backed Syrian rebels in the north of the country, while rendering its capacity to contain ISIS in other parts of the region less effective. This was especially the case with al-Hol camp, where thousands of ISIS-affiliated families, especially women known as “ISIS wives”, are being kept. Some of the ISIS women have been terrorising other women by enforcing their harsh laws and enacting severe punishments.