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Syrian Kurds Stop Operations Against IS11/27 09:07

   The commander of the main U.S.-backed Kurdish-led force in Syria said 
Saturday they have halted operations against the Islamic State group due to 
Turkish attacks on northern Syria over the past week.

   BEIRUT (AP) -- The commander of the main U.S.-backed Kurdish-led force in 
Syria said Saturday they have halted operations against the Islamic State group 
due to Turkish attacks on northern Syria over the past week.

   Mazloum Abdi of the Syrian Democratic Forces told reporters that after 
nearly a week of Turkish airstrikes on northern Syria, Ankara is now preparing 
for a ground offensive. He said Turkey-backed opposition fighters are getting 
ready to take part in the operations.

   Abdi added that Turkish strikes over the past week have caused severe damage 
to the region's infrastructure.

   Abdi said Turkey is taking advantage of the deadly Nov. 13 bombing in 
Istanbul that Ankara blames on Kurdish groups. Kurdish organizations have 
denied any involvement in the Istanbul attack that killed six and wounded 
dozens.

   Over the past week, Turkey launched a wave of airstrikes on suspected 
Kurdish rebels hiding in neighboring Syria and Iraq in retaliation for the 
Istanbul attack.

   "The forces that work symbolically with the international coalition in the 
fight against Daesh are now targets for the Turkish state and therefore 
(military) operations have stopped," Abdi said, using an Arabic acronym of the 
Islamic State group. "Anti-Daesh operations have stopped."

   His comments came hours after the U.S. military said two rockets targeted 
U.S.-led coalition forces at bases in the northeastern Syrian town of Shaddadeh 
resulting in no "injuries or damage to the base or coalition property."

   The U.S. military statement said SDF fighters visited the site of the 
rocket's origin and found a third unfired rocket.

   The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war 
monitor, in an early report about the Friday night rocket attack said "the area 
has been witnessing attacks by (IS) cells." It later said that Iran-backed 
militias "are responsible for yesterday's rocket fire."

   "Attacks of this kind place coalition forces and the civilian populace at 
risk and undermine the hard-earned stability and security of Syria and the 
region," said Col. Joe Buccino, CENTCOM spokesman.

   The SDF said in a statement before midnight Friday that as Turkish drones 
flew over the al-Hol camp that is home to tens of thousands of mostly wives, 
widows and children of IS fighters, some IS family members attacked security 
forces and managed to escape from the sprawling facility. The SDF did not say 
how many escaped but that they were later detained.

   Kurdish authorities operate more than two dozen detention facilities 
scattered across northeastern Syria holding about 10,000 IS fighters. Among the 
detainees are some 2,000 foreigners whose home countries have refused to 
repatriate them, including about 800 Europeans.

 
 
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