On October 18, Col. Sean Ryan, a spokesman for the US-led coalition, told the Washington-based Sawa Radio station that ISIS still maintains some hideouts in the Iraqi provinces of Kirkuk and al-Anbar. The spokesman also stressed that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is continuing its operations against the terrorist group in Syria.
“Iraqi security forces are pursuing militants’ cells, and the Syrian Democratic Forces is fighting them in an ongoing operation in the Euphrates Valley in Syria,” Col. Rayan told Sawa Radio during an interview.
Furthermore, Col. Rayan said that the US-led coalition information indicates that there is between 1,500 and 2,000 fighters of ISIS in the Euphrates Valley in Syria.
It’s curious that on August 14 Maj. Gen. Felix Gedney, British deputy commander for strategy and support of the coalition, stated that only 1,000 terrorists remained in the valley.
The numbers provided by Col. Rayan and Maj. Ge. Gedney show that the ISIS presence in Syria’s Euphrates Valley has actually increased since the beginning of the US-led coalition operation there in early September.
The only logical explanation for the growth of ISIS presence in the Euphrates Valley will be that the US-led coalition is allowing the remaining terrorist cells to gather there for some reason. Over the last few years, the coalition struck several deals with ISIS in the cities of Manbij, Tabqah and Raqqa. These deals allowed the terrorists to regroup in a similar way.