Even as President Donald Trump hints at a US pullout from Syria, insisting that Daesh is “almost completely defeated,” the terrorist group is showing signs of a revival.
After being forced out of the main towns they once occupied near the Iraqi border, the militants have regrouped elsewhere and revised their tactics, recently mounting a brazen attack on a border city in eastern Syria and expanding their footprint inside the Syrian capital itself.
Yahya Al-Aridi, the Syrian opposition spokesman, told Arab News that the Kurds had been “taken hostage” by Kurdish groups including PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) and PYD (Democratic Union Party), but were also “victims of those with interests in the region — US, Russia, Turkey, Iran and the regime (of Bashar Assad).”
He said: “They were used by the US at a certain point and when the US threatened to pull out its forces, they got worried because somebody out there would fill the vacuum. Their fears are justified.”
The plight of Kurds had been heightened because after years of suffering, they thought the US had come to their rescue, Al-Aridi said.
“The US had its own interests, and if the US and its allies have to fight any party, they have to fight Assad’s state terrorism.”
Meanwhile, Syrian troops began a ground offensive under cover of airstrikes on rebel-held areas outside Damascus on Friday after a 10-day truce collapsed following a dispute over evacuation of opposition fighters.
The new wave of violence left at least 36 people dead, including women and children, according to state media and opposition activists.
By sunset on Friday, artillery pieces, multiple rocket launchers and warplanes had pounded the city of Douma, which is home to tens of thousands of people. Live television footage showed thick smoke rising above sections of the city after intense airstrikes.