Conflict

Syrian Democratic Forces free captives held by ISIS

Iraq

The Syrian Democratic Forces have found and freed more than a dozen captives from ISIS brutality and are facilitating their return to their homes.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) with the support of the International Coalition have made significant progress in operations against ISIS militants in the eastern Euphrates region. The campaign, known as Operation Roundup, is in its third week. It is occurring in the Middle Euphrates River Valley’s Deir ez-Zour Province, close to the Iraq-Syria border.

According to a number of security sources, thousands of ISIS militants remain scattered in the region. Most are believed to be in an area stretching east from the Euphrates to the border with Iraq, about 25km (16 miles) away from Hajin, and in desert areas in the south and centre of the country.

Nearly one year on from the liberation of Raqqa from ISIS, the group is currently at the weakest it has ever been. The militant group do not control any territory in Iraq and has resorted to launching small-scale attacks in rural areas during the night in order to avoid being caught by security forces. Meanwhile in Syria, the group has only been able to exercise limited control over villages and towns close to the Syria-Iraq border.

So far during the current operations, the SDF have been effective in pushing the group back and clearing the liberated areas of ISIS remnants. Over the last four months, the forces have cleared the Baghuz and Dashisha areas – to the north and south. Now, the coalition of Kurdish and Arab forces have launched an operation to oust the group from Hajin, a strategic town near the border with Iraq. The town acts as a link from Syria to Iraq and is an important stronghold for ISIS.

As part of operations, the SDF have been key in freeing detainees held by the militant group, who have suffered untold misery under the group’s captivity. Now the Raqqa Civil Council is working to facilitate the return of these captives to their homes.