Kurdish militia suspends operations against ISIL until Turkey stops its attacks

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Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) attend the funeral of one of their commanders, killed a day earlier in the town of Hajin during battles against the Islamic State (IS) group, in the Kurdish-controlled city of Qamishly in northeastern Syria, on October 29, 2018. - The Islamic State group ousted a US-backed coalition of Kurdish and Arab forces from its holdout in eastern Syria on October 28, killing dozens of fighters, a monitoring group said. (Photo by Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP)

A Kurdish armed force backed by a US-led coalition suspended operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and said they would not resume until Turkey halts its attacks on Kurdish militia posts in northern Syria, AFP reported.

The Syrian Democratic Forces, joint Arab-Kurdish units under Kurdish command, announced a “temporary halt” to their operation, launched in eastern Syria on Sept. 10, and condemned Turkey’s “provocations.”

On Wednesday Turkish shelling of Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) positions in the Kobani sector of northern Syria killed four fighters, according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.

The Turkish government sees the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a deadly insurgency in Turkey since 1984.

The PKK is designated as a terrorist group by Turkey and its Western allies.

The SDF condemned what it called the “coordination” of Turkey’s attacks with a fightback by extremists and warned of “a prolonged halt to our military operation” against ISIL if Ankara keeps up its strikes.

The US State Department said it had been in touch with both Turkey and the SDF to push for de-escalation.

“Unilateral military strikes into northwest Syria by any party, particularly as American personnel may be present or in the vicinity, are of great concern to us,” State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino told reporters on Wednesday.

“Coordination and consultation between the United States and Turkey on issues of security concern is a better approach.”

“We have been in communication [with] both Turkey and the SDF to de-escalate the situation,” anti-ISIL coalition spokesperson Col. Sean Ryan said on Twitter.

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