US-Backed Kurds Clash With ISIS in Southeastern Syria

ISIS forces try to reclaim contested town of Hajin in major counter-offensive

Heavy fighting raged over the weekend in the southeastern Syrian town of Hajin, where an ISIS counteroffensive has been launched to try to reclaim what was once their “last” major town, and US-backed YPG forces try to keep them away.

While this is being presented as an ISIS reaction to the US pullout announcement by some, the reality is that this is commonly how the fighting has gone in this region, with Kurdish gains followed by major ISIS counterattacks that reverse the situation. It is for this reason that the Kurds have been contesting three smallish towns for several solid months without a decisive victory.

Details are scant on the fighting, but the Kurds claimed to have killed dozens of ISIS fighters. A Kurdish spokesman added that they believe ISIS morale is improved by the US decision to withdraw.

ISIS fighters are largely confined to the eastern deserts in Syria, with some contesting these towns with the Kurds. The fighting has long raged, and there is little sign that the loss of the towns, whether temporary or permanent, will mean much to ISIS in the region.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.