NORTH AND EAST SYRIA – Public Relations official of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Redur Xelil confirmed that due to the preventive measures taken to curb the spread of COVID-19, unnecessary military movements had been decreased and military units had been kept within their camps in addition to the routine sterilization of headquarters and medical testing of SDF members.
Xelil also stressed that the danger of the Islamic State (ISIS) is still present, especially in the Syrian desert (Badia) east of Deir ez-Zor. The geography of the Badia, along the remotest regions of the Syrian-Iraqi border, makes providing extensive security coverage difficult.
“ISIS is trying to benefit from the world’s preoccupation with the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of security in some areas, especially after the U.S. forces withdrew from some military bases in the region,” said Xelil.
Xelil emphasized that combating ISIS is one of the SDF’s security priorities and that they are always ready to track ISIS activity and sleeper cells in cooperation and direct coordination with the U.S.-led international coalition.
Xelil also indicated the absence of Russian military bases in the region, noting that the SDF and the Russian forces have a “field coordination”. He clarified that the relationship between the SDF and the Syrian government is only a relationship of military coordination, not cooperation or negotiation.