SDF spokesman Talal Silo speaks to reporters in Shaddadi. Photo: ARA News
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HASAKAH – After expelling ISIS militants from the strategic Shaddadi city in Syria’s northeastern Hasakah province, western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) started dismantling explosives left by the radical group in a step to cleanse the area completely from ISIS.
“More than 275 ISIS militants were killed and 33 ISIS vehicles were destroyed at the hands of the SDF fighters in the battle for Shaddadi,” the SDF leadership said in a statement on Friday.
SDF spokesman Talal Silo told ARA News that their special teams have dismantled land-mines and removed a large deal of explosives in Shaddadi that have been left behind by ISIS extremists.
“ISIS terrorists had planted explosives and mines in an attempt to hinder movements of the Kurdish-Arab alliance of the SDF in the area. But our teams have dismantled those explosives after days of intensive work,” Silo said.
The official source confirmed that their units have cleansed Shaddadi and its surroundings and that the SDF is now in control of the whole area.
The SDF had announced last week its control over Shaddadi; however, sporadic clashes continued between their fighters and ISIS sleeper cells in the area which has used car bombs to hit the SDF ranks.
“Today we announce Shaddadi free of ISIS and its remnants,” the spokesman said.
Western-backed SDF units are currently preparing to fight ISIS in the key town of Margada south of Hasakah.
“Our next target is Margada. Our operations will continue until we regain the entire region from ISIS,” Silo concluded.
ISIS militants have evacuated their headquarters in Shaddadi under heavy bombardment by the Kurdish-Arab alliance of the SDF.
This progress came after the SDF units cut off a main supply route for the ISIS radical group near Syria’s northeastern border with Iraq.
“SDF units have closed a strategic supply route near Shaddadi in Hasakah province after fierce clashes with ISIS militants,” the SDF leadership said last Friday, adding that ISIS movement was paralyzed subsequent to losing its main supply line with Iraq’s Mosul.
Furthermore, the SDF alliance had seized control of a key gas facility and main financial resource for the Islamic State (ISIS) radical group in Syria’s northeastern Hasakah province last week. The western-backed forces regained control of the Jibisa gas facility, located about 12km east of Shaddadi city in southern Hasakah.
The facility had been used by ISIS for nearly two years as a source to fund its operations. Informed sources told ARA News that ISIS used to produce 5,000 gas cylinders a day in Jibisa to be sold at the black-market. Local sources reported that ISIS has been coordinating with the Syrian regime to sell the gas it used to extract from Jibisa fields, and that the regime’s employees have been working in the facility even during ISIS control.
Jibisa gas facility is considered one of the main gas facilities in northern Syria for its huge production that has been feeding power stations in central Syria. The facility was run by some 500 workers, including specialized engineers, technicians and workers.
The SDF, which includes Kurdish, Arab and Christian units, had earlier liberated more than 240 towns and villages from ISIS militants on the border with Iraq.
Reporting by: Ahmed Shiwesh and Qehreman Miste
Source: ARA News