On Tuesday, SDF Commander-in-Chief Mazloum Abdi told reporters that the group’s joint operations alongside the US-led international coalition to counter the Islamic State group had been “temporarily halted” due to recent Turkish airstrikes.
US officials had said patrols that resumed on Saturday were not aimed at countering IS militants, but would be limited to areas around a sprawling camp housing tens of thousands of women and children, mostly linked to IS, as well as to the prisons where the SDF detains thousands of extremists.
Turkey has in recent days launched a series of airstrikes on suspected militant targets in northern Syria and Iraq, in retaliation for the deadly November 13 bombing in Istanbul that Ankara blames on Kurdish groups. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also threatened a ground incursion, without specifying when it would be launched.
Kurdish groups have denied any link with the Istanbul attack which killed six people and injured dozens.
No American forces or personnel were hit by any of the strikes. But on November 26, the US military said two rockets targeted US-led coalition forces at bases in the northeastern Syrian town of Shaddadeh. There were no injuries or damage to the base.
The SDF captured the last strip of land from IS in March 2019, marking the battlefield defeat of the extremist group that once controlled large parts of Syria and Iraq. SDF officials warn that the Turkish attacks are undermining the fight against ISIS, whose sleeper cells continue to carry out deadly attacks.
There are approximately 900 US troops in Syria, including in the north and further south and east.