BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:42 P.M.) – A huge contingent of Syrian Kurdish fighters have departed from their positions and bases in the provinces of Raqqa and Deir Ezzor en-route to the mountainous countryside of Afrin to assist friendly forces currently battling it out with the Turkish Army and pro-Ankara militias.
The withdrawal of some 1,700 Kurdish fighters – essentially a regiment-sized force – from the greater Raqqa and Deir Ezzor areas towards Afrin has been confirmed by official Kurdish sources.
Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) represent the dominant component of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) anti-ISIS alliance.
YPG units have always provided the main striking power of all SDF operations against Islamic State terrorists in northern and eastern Syria to date.
However, these veteran forces now enter a new battle (against a much tougher opponent) missing a core support asset which they have hitherto enjoyed in copious amounts of – US coalition airpower.