Syrian Democratic Front (SDF)

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) provide security for a Coalition mortar crew providing fires support to SDF against ISIS locations in Operation Round Up taking place in the Middle Euphrates River Valley (MERV) in Syria. (photo by SSG Timothy Koster, CJTF-OIR, May 13, 2018).

The Kurds in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria number about 25 million people. They are considered the most populous people in the world that does not have its own nation-state. The Syrian Kurd’s Local Protection Force (YPG) (Wikipedia) comprise a good part of the Syrian Democratic Front (SDF) and has been accused of linkages to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PKK is opposed to the Turkish regime and is outlawed by Turkey as a terrorist organization.

The SDF is based in the northeastern region of Syria – which is also an area of Syria where Kurds live. The Kurds historic homeland can be found in parts of Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. The SDF, due to the power vacuum in that region of the country and the backing of the United States, was able to keep that region free from the reign of terror imposed upon other parts of Syria by the Islamic State (IS). Currently (2018), the SDF is estimated to be at 30,000 personnel.

In September of 2014 President Obama began U.S. air attacks against the Islamic State in Syria – one month after starting strikes against IS in Iraq. The air campaign continued into 2015. In late 2015 U.S. ground troops (mostly SOF) entered Syria. Their primary job was to recruit, organize, train, equip, and advise Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters. Concurrently, JSOC had elements conducting ‘surgical strikes’ against IS targets.

The SDF has been instrumental in the degradation of the Islamic State in Syria. IS has lost a considerable amount of territory and thousands of its fighters have been killed.

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