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US-led Forces Resume Normal Patrols in Syria


Asharq Al-Awsat


A US-led coalition fighting militants resumed regular patrols in Kurdish-held areas of northeast Syria on Friday after earlier Turkish airstrikes, an AFP correspondent and a Kurdish military source said.
Patrols were reduced following the Turkish strikes that began on November 20 in Kurdish-controlled areas of Syria and Iraq, in response to a deadly Istanbul bombing that Ankara blamed on Kurdish groups.
The Kurds denied responsibility.
Hundreds of American troops are in Syria as part of the fight against remnants of ISIS.
Two four-vehicle patrols bearing US flags set off separately from a base in Rmeilan in Hasakeh province, the AFP correspondent said.
A vehicle belonging to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) accompanied each convoy, which travelled in different directions towards Syria's borders.
"The international coalition in cooperation with the Syrian Democratic Forces resumed its usual patrols in northeast Syria following a reduction due to Turkish strikes in the area," a Kurdish military source told AFP.
The source requested anonymity as he was not authorized to speak on the matter.
The usual 20 weekly patrols had dropped to around five or six following the Turkish strikes, which Ankara said it carried out with aircraft and drones.
The US supports the SDF, which is the Kurds' de facto army in the area and led the battle that dislodged ISIS from the last scraps of their Syrian territory in 2019.
Mahmud Bardakhan, a member of the SDF general command, meanwhile said the group "was forced to stop operations against ISIS cells for several days" due to the Turkish strikes.
But operations targeting the extremists will resume on Saturday "in coordination with the coalition", he added.

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