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Kurds claim role in U.S. operation believed to have killed ISIS leader

by ace

On Sunday, Kurdish fighters seemed to claim a role in the operation that allegedly killed Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are US allies in the fight against ISIS, but have recently accused President Donald Trump of abandoning them after the Turkish invasion of northeastern Syria.

World

SDF Commander in Chief General Mazloum Kobani appeared to greet the attack early Sunday,alleging "a historic and successful operation due to joint intelligence work with the United States of America".

SDF Spokesperson Mustafa Bali also praised a "successful and effective operation of our forces" early on Sunday, without referring to al-Baghdadi by name.

It was "further proof of the SDF's anti-terrorism capability," added Bali.

Turkey's Ministry of Defense, meanwhile, claimed on twitter sunday that before the US attack believed to have killed al-Baghdadi, there was "information exchange and coordination between the military authorities of both countries."

NBC News could not verify whether the Kurds or Turkey were involved in the operation.

The the president will make a statement at 9 am Sunday, said the White House. No additional details provided.

Trump's decision to withdraw US troops from northeastern Syria to make way for the Turkish invasion earlier this month attracted widespread criticism amid fears of a possible resurgence of ISIS.

After initially announcing that US forces would withdraw amid growing chaos after Turkey's operation, the Since then, the US has begun to reinforce some positions in the region to prevent oil fields from falling into ISIS hands, a US defense official said.

This operation is being performed in coordination with the SDF.

EXCLUSIVE

Kurdish Forces declared victory over ISISin Syria in March, after years of fighting, backed by the US.

They continued to arrest thousands of ISIS supporters in the northeast of the country, where they established a home.

But Turkey is determined to establish a "safe zone" for Syrian refugees, free of Syrian Kurdish fighters along its border with Syria.

The ceasefire agreement agreed between the US and Turkey, that Trump said last week would be "permanent" would apparently allow them to achieve that goal.

The SDF are led by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which have long angered the Turkish government. Turkey considers the YPG an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party, considered a terrorist group by the United States.

. (tagsToTranslate) news (t) World news

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