U.S.-backed Syria force to send 1,700 soldiers to Afrin

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By Middle East Affairs

An alliance of Syrian forces backed by the United States announced Tuesday it will pull 1,700 fighters from the fight against the Islamic State to help a Kurdish enclave under Turkish attack, AFP reports.

Turkey and allied Syrian rebels have been fighting against a Kurdish militia in Afrin for six weeks now.

The group makes up the majority of the Syrian Democratic Forces.

“We took the difficult decision to pull our forces out of Deir Ezzor province and battlefronts against Daesh (IS) to head to the Afrin battle,” said Abu Omar al-Idlibi, an SDF commander, at a press conference Tuesday.

“We fought Daesh. We helped the coalition in Raqa, but without the coalition defending its partners,” Idlibi said.

“Our people in Afrin are our priority. Protecting them is more important than the international coalition’s decisions.”

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