Kurdish Commander: Anti-ISIS Offensive Slowed by Presence of Civilians

Trump had told public to expect victory announcement on Saturday

President Trump has told reporters to expect a victory announcement for Syria at some point on Saturday. This is not the first time he’s offered a very specific timetable for when ISIS will be defeated.

It also looks unlikely to be met, with Kurdish commander Adnan Afrin telling the AP that the discovery of around 1,000 civilians still remaining in ISIS-held areas, many hiding in underground tunnels, is blunting the offensive substantially.

The commander suggested ISIS forces are using them as human shields and that the Kurdish offensive did not anticipate so many remaining civilians. Officials say this is all in the “last square kilometer” of ISIS territory in Baghouz.

This appears to be mostly an excuse for the Kurds not delivering Trump’s expected victory in time. Offensives in Baghouz have been ongoing for months, and US airstrikes have been killing hundreds of civilians, suggesting that “human shields” would be of little value in blunting their push.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.