US-Backed Forces Halt all Counter-ISIS Operations in Syria

Shortly after the Turkish operation inside Syria had started, local residents cheer and applaud as a convoy of Turkish forces vehicles is driven through the town of Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, at the border between Turkey and Syria, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019. Turkey launched a military operation Wednesday against Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria after U.S. forces pulled back from the area, with a series of airstrikes hitting a town on Syria's northern border.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pit
Shortly after the Turkish operation inside Syria had started, local residents cheer and applaud as a convoy of Turkish forces vehicles is driven through the town of Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, at the border between Turkey and Syria, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019. Turkey launched a military operation Wednesday against Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria after U.S. forces pulled back from the area, with a series of airstrikes hitting a town on Syria's northern border.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

The mostly-Kurdish forces trained and supported by the U.S. military in Syria have halted their fight against ISIS remnants in response to a Turkish invasion, according to multiple reports.

The Pentagon would not confirm to Military.com reports that the Syrian Democratic Forces, which drove the Islamic State from its last strongholds in Syria, is now turning to face the more imminent threat from Turkey. However, multiple outlets cited U.S. officials who did confirm that information.

The SDF had been warning Turkey's attempts to move into northeastern Syria would force them to give up operations against ISIS remnants who still mount attacks in the region.

Reuters reported Wednesday that "the SDF stopped the anti-ISIS operations because it's impossible to carry out any operation while you are being threatened by a large army right on the northern border," according to a Kurdish military source.

Two U.S. officials, who spoke on grounds of anonymity, also said that anti-ISIS operations by the SDF had been halted, Reuters reported.

Following a four-year campaign, SDF fighters, backed by U.S. air support and artillery, took out the last ISIS stronghold in southeast Syria near the Iraqi border in May.

President Donald Trump has often stated that ISIS has been "100%" destroyed during his administration, but a report by the Defense Department's Inspector General in August said that ISIS was resurgent and regaining strength in both Syria and Iraq.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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