The primary U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led drive in northeastern Syria mentioned Friday it misplaced 9 fighters, together with a commander, when two helicopters crashed this week in neighboring Iraq.
The group generally known as Syrian Democratic Forces mentioned the helicopters crashed throughout dangerous climate whereas en path to the northern Iraqi metropolis of Suleimaniyah on Wednesday night time. The 9 killed included elite fighters, the group mentioned.
The assertion added that the Syrian Kurdish fighters had been in Iraq as a part of an “alternate of experience” within the struggle towards the militant Islamic state group. It recognized the killed commander as Sherfan Kobani, a cousin of SDF’s prime commander, Mazloum Abdi.
The SDF didn’t elaborate on the reason for the crash or present additional particulars. The group referred to as on native authorities in Iraq at hand over the 9 our bodies so that they may very well be introduced house for burial in Syria.
The SDF has been a primary drive within the struggle towards the militant Islamic State group in Syria and nonetheless carries out operations towards the extremists. IS as soon as managed massive components of Syria and Iraq underneath the extremists’ so-called caliphate and nonetheless has sleeper cells within the area. The militants regularly stage assaults, concentrating on Kurdish-led fighters in Syria, and in addition Iraqi forces and civilians in Iraq.
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The SDF assertion is in sharp distinction to a report on Thursday from Iraqi Kurdish authorities, which mentioned that just one helicopter — an AS350 Eurocopter — had crashed in Iraq’s Dohuk province within the northern semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdish area.
That report mentioned that at the very least 5 individuals, together with insurgents of Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK, had been on board. Zagros Hiwa, a PKK spokesperson, mentioned Thursday the group doesn’t possess helicopters and that the PKK was additionally investigating the crash.
The PKK has been waging an insurgency towards Turkey because the Nineteen Eighties and is taken into account a terrorist group by Ankara, the United States and the European Union. Its militants have established secure havens in northern Iraq and regularly come underneath assault by Turkey within the area.
Iraq’s authorities, the U.S-led coalition and Turkey had all denied possession of the helicopter.
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