ERBIL – Nuri Mahmud, the spokesperson of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in an interview with ANF said that US support for the Syrian Democratic Forces will continue although the so-called Islamic State has been eliminated in Raqqa.
“Our partnership in the fight against ISIS continues. This relationship will continue until ISIS is eliminated. This is a process about the domestic security of Syria. For instance, there are no more direct battlefronts left with ISIS gangs in Raqqa, Hassaka, Kobani and many other areas,” he said.
“Today there are only fronts in some desert areas along the Iraqi borders. But ISIS has cells in the region. That is why both the Pentagon and the White House announced that there is weapons support for the SDF to achieve domestic security within Syria. Our joint fight with the US continues on the Iraqi border areas where the battle continues and against hidden ISIS forces,” he added.
In a recent joint statement with a Russian general, the YPG spokesperson announced in Deir ez-Zour city that the east of Deir ez-Zor has been cleared from IS, but Nuri warned that IS can’t be considered an organization that exists on a solely military basis.
“ISIS emerged as a mindset. They organized in the area with vast resources for over 6 years. They had acquired very advanced weapons. They were waging a dirty war with advanced technique. That is why it can’t be said that ISIS has been eliminated solely through the victory in Deir ez-Zor,” he said.
“On the contrary, ISIS still holds a certain area in Syria, both to the east and west of the Euphrates. ISIS still hasn’t been completely eliminated in Syria. It wouldn’t be appropriate to assume so, and that line of thought would not serve the process either. Because ISIS is still on the field in the military sense. There needs to be a great war against that. The international powers need to see this. The world needs to take a stand against this international terror,” he stated.
The official added that the YPG made a deal with Russia in the war against terrorism, but also the relationship with the US-led coalition continues.
“In the joint statement we held, we announced that ISIS has been eliminated in the area we made a deal with the Russians in the war against terror. But ISIS is still present in Syria, and as long as that is the case we will fight against them,” he said.
“Our strategy of a joint struggle against ISIS together with the US and the international coalition continues. Right now, we are in the process of completely eliminating ISIS in Syria together with the US and the international coalition. At the same time, the support Russia will offer to the ongoing struggle against ISIS is important for us,” he concluded.
Alan Semo, a representative of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) who last week testified in the UK parliament, also confirmed the relationship between the Kurds and Russia.
“Yesterday there was an announcement that to the east of Euphrates, Deir ez-Zor had been liberated by the democratic Syrian forces. They have their own relationship on the ground and they are well incorporated into the coalition, and with the Russians as well on another side,” he said.
“They keep the balance to try to protect that area and push for a democratic, political settlement in Syria, featuring and establishing the suggested project of a united federal Syria, based on a geographic federalism, which means non-ethnic, non-religious and federal,” he added.
Moreover, he said he hopes US support will continue. “Because we see they have been promising their contribution and they are on the ground with that contribution. As I mentioned, in this phase now we are trying to establish stabilisation and democracy in that area, with a coalition of all ethnic minority group communities in northern Syria,” he concluded.
Also the Pentagon on Thursday confirmed that they will not leave Syria.
“The war against ISIS is not over, and it's not over in Syria. And although we are shifting our forces and the mission is changing, it's also really important that we ensure that ISIS doesn't rise again,” Pentagon Chief Spokesperson Dana W. White said.
“So, we're going to stay there and we're going to help give our diplomats the sure footing that they need to ensure the diplomatic process can go forward,” she added.