U.S. forces have stopped joint military patrols in northern Syria to counter Islamic State extremists, as Turkish threats of a ground invasion stymie those missions with Kurdish forces. Other more limited security patrols by U.S. and Kurdish troops, particularly around prisons, will begin again on Saturday, officials said.
U.S. Central Command on Friday said American troops have paused all of the joint operations with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces against IS in Syria. The Pentagon had said Thursday they were ongoing but reduced.
“The SDF continues to conduct patrols and maintain security at the al-Hol displaced persons camp and the detention facilities, prisons,” said Army Col. Joe Buccino, the Central Command spokesman. “ISIS remains a threat to regional security and stability. We remain committed to the enduring defeat of ISIS and look forward to the resumption of operations against ISIS in the future.”
John Kirby, spokesman for the National Security Council, told reporters Friday that, as in the past, when there are Turkish operations in northern Syria, it has had an impact on the counter-ISIS operations as SDF forces concentrate on defending themselves in northern Syria. The U.S. said the SDF’s decision to pause its missions against the Islamic State group triggered the U.S. decision to do so as well
A Kurdish military official said the other partnered patrols will begin Saturday in the border area. The U.S. said those patrols are not to counter the Islamic State militants.