Five ISIS fighters detained for planning attacks on holding facilities and Al Hol camp

US military says arrests were carried out with the help of the Syrian Democratic Forces, which had previously suspended co-operation over threats of an attack by Turkey

A border guard loyal to the Syrian Democratic Forces near the Syrian town of Al Hol. AFP
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Five ISIS fighters were detained during operations by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the US-led anti-ISIS coalition, according to the US Central Command (Centcom).

"We have conducted six partnered operations, resulting in the detention of five ISIS operatives involved in planning attacks on detention facilities holding ISIS fighters and on the Al Hol camp," Centcom spokesman Col Joe Buccino said.

"The US remains committed to countering the global threat from ISIS in partnership with local forces."

The SDF is also responsible for guarding Al Hol camp, which holds about 55,000 ISIS family members, half of whom are children.

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Earlier this month, the SDF said it had halted all anti-ISIS operations as it prepared for a ground attack by Turkey, which accuses the Kurdish militia of being involved in a terrorist attack that killed six people in Istanbul last month.

The SDF denied responsibility for the attack and called for an international investigation into the incident.

On December 8, the SDF announced the commencement of anti-ISIS operations, but called on the US to exert pressure on Turkey to call off the military offensive.

Turkey has indirectly accused the US of complicity in the attack through their support for the SDF, which Ankara says is an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, a designated terrorist organisation in Turkey and the US.

On Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he had proposed to Russia's Vladimir Putin a trilateral summit with Syria.

Syrian and Turkish ties have been severed since the war began in Damascus in 2011, prompting a mass exodus of refugees into Turkey where about four million Syrians now live.

Updated: December 16, 2022, 12:05 PM
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