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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

ISIS launches counterattack against SDF in eastern Syria

Insurgents reportedly targeted SDF positions near the Al Tanak oil fields

SDF fighters patrol the Kurdish-held town of Al-Darbasiyah in northeastern Syria. AFP
SDF fighters patrol the Kurdish-held town of Al-Darbasiyah in northeastern Syria. AFP

Militants launched an overnight attack against US-backed forces in eastern Syria for the second time in four days on Monday, according to activists.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said insurgents believed to be affiliated with ISIS attacked the Syrian Democratic Forces in the Deir Ezzor suburb of Al Basira, on the eastern banks of the Euphrates River, before retreating.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The activist-run DeirEzzor24 website said ISIS targeted SDF positions near the Al Tanak oil field, which is also protected by US coalition forces.

“No matter how intense clashes get between the SDF and ISIS terrorists get in eastern Deir Ezzor, militants will never be able to regain their former clout,” the SDF said in a statement on Monday night.

The SDF and ISIS were locked in fierce clashes in east Syria between Friday and Saturday.

ISIS killed at least 50 SDF fighters and abducted 20 others in an attack on the villages of Al Bahra and Gharanij, before militants retreated to their holdout in the Hajin pocket.

The clashes were some of the fiercest in Syria in recent months.

The SDF, a Kurdish-led alliance, has been battling to oust ISIS from the area near the Iraqi border since September.

The Observatory says 452 SDF fighters and about 739 ISIS militants have been killed since a US-backed campaign was launched nearly three months ago.

The SDF held a funeral procession for three of its fighters who were killed by ISIS in Deir Ezzor on Monday, according to the Kurdish-run Hawar news agency.

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