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Monday, December 4, 2017
US-Russian Support Helps Kurds Control Territory East of Euphrates

US-Russian Support Helps Kurds Control Territory East of Euphrates
Monday, 4 December, 2017 - 07:15
Beirut - London - Caroline Akoum Asharq Al-Awsat
https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1103036/us-russian-support-helps-kurds-control-territory-east-euphrates

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said on Sunday they had fully
captured Deir Ezzor’s countryside that is located east of the Euphrates
River.

“The eastern countryside of the city has been fully liberated from ISIS with
the international coalition and Russia’s support,” the SDF announced in a
statement on Sunday.

The SDF's most powerful component, the People's Protection Units (YPG), also
thanked the international forces, including the International Coalition and
the Russian forces for offering air support, logistical advice, and
cooperation on the ground.

“We hope for an increase in this support and for ensuring the necessary air
cover,” it said.

Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday that its long-range
Tu-22 bombers had carried out raids against ISIS targets in Deir Ezzor.

A ministry statement said the bombers took off from Russia and were
accompanied by fighter jets from Russia's air base in Hmeimim.

At the political level, the Syrian opposition doesn’t have high hopes for
the success of the second stage of the eighth round of the intra-Syrian
talks in Geneva this week.

Based on the conclusions reached during the first stage of the talks, the
opposition said the Syrian regime, backed by Russia, is trying to terminate
the role of “Geneva” by switching the focus to the Syria National Dialogue
Congress to be held later in Sochi.

The regime delegation returned from Geneva last Saturday, without confirming
whether it would attend the second stage of the talks, expected to kick off
in the Swiss city on Tuesday.

Yahya Aridi, a spokesman for the opposition Syrian National Council, told
Asharq Al-Awsat: “We cannot predict what the regime will do next,
particularly that the Syrian delegation never took the negotiations
seriously.”

According to Aridi, the regime is aware that a political solution in Syria
would harm its own interests.

For his part, Hisham Marwa a representative of Syria's opposition High
Negotiations Committee (HNC) told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday that despite the
importance of the direct talks between the opposition and regime
delegations, “those negotiations would be useless if not accompanied with a
decision to approve the four items: transitional period, constitution,
elections, and fighting terrorism.”

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