SDF denies report of blast in Syria near US base

SDF denies report of blast in Syria near US base

SDF denies report of blast in Syria near US base

A Syrian rebel fighter sits next to a machine gun in a fortified area near the frontlines at a rebel-held area in the southern Syrian city of Daraa on June 3, 2018. AFP PHOTO / Mohamad ABAZEED

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) denied reports on June 4 of an attack on one of its vehicles near a base housing U.S.-led international troops.

Reuters reported earlier that a local security source said a blast had hit a vehicle belonging to the U.S.-backed alliance, without harming anybody.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, said one person had been killed when a bomb hit a vehicle near a base housing U.S.-led international troops outside Ain Issa in northern Syria on June 4.

However, an SDF spokesman denied that any of its groups were subject to any attack in that area in the past two days.

The U.S.-led international coalition also said none of its troops were present or affected by any recent explosions near Ain Issa.

The United States is believed to have about 2,000 troops on the ground in Syria, with France and Britain also having contributed ground forces to its coalition.

With air and special forces backing from the coalition, the SDF has captured almost all of the quarter of Syria east of the Euphrates since beginning a campaign against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters that controlled the area in 2015. It is now the largest territory in Syria outside government control.

The SDF is dominated by the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which was considered by Turkey as the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The PKK was designated as a terrorist organisation by the United States, the European Union and Turkey.

The Observatory also reported on June 4 that the SDF had made wide advances against ISIL in one of the last desert areas the militant group controls near the border with Iraq.

ISIL holds only a few remote pockets of ground in eastern Syria after offensives by both the U.S.-backed SDF and the Syrian army backed by Iran and Russia.