Increased Attacks Target ISIS Positions in Eastern Syria
Violent clashes erupted in eastern Syria on Wednesday between U.S.-backed forces and militants of the so-called Islamic State as part of a reenergized effort against the extremist group, a war monitor reported.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) battled ISIS in areas east of the Euphrates river in Deir Ezzor province, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The SOHR said the U.S.-led coalition also targeted the area with a slew of airstrikes.
The fighting aims to drive militants from areas east of the Euphrates. This would leave them with only two remaining pockets in eastern Syria – one in Hassakeh province and an adjacent enclave in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor.
Reinvigorated military action against ISIS comes one day after the SDF announced the start of a final phase of operations against militants in the country’s east.
The SDF had paused operations against ISIS after Turkey launched an assault on the northwestern district of Afrin in January. However, hundreds of SDF fighters have returned to the front lines in eastern Syria in recent weeks to resume operations against the militant group.
Airstrikes Destroy Hospital in Northern Hama
Airstrikes and artillery attacks struck opposition-held areas in Hama’s countryside on Wednesday, destroying a vital hospital in the area, the Associated Press reported.
A hospital in the village of Kafr Zeita was struck four times on Wednesday morning in an attack that killed one worker, the AP said. It was not immediately clear whether Russian or Syrian government warplanes were behind the strikes.
Citing the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations charity, the AP said the hospital served 5,000 patients per month.
The SOHR said the hospital was put out of service by the attack.
Red Cross: Syria Aid to Shift From Emergency Assistance to Rehabilitation
The head of the Red Cross said on Wednesday that humanitarian aid to Syria is set to shift away from emergency assistance to rehabilitating devastated areas, Agence France-Presse reported.
“For us it is just [as] important that we get the rehabilitation thing going,” Peter Maurer told reporters in Geneva.
The nature of assistance is also slated to focus on “protection activities,” he said.
These could include helping to reestablish basic services, assisting people to find lost family members and providing protection to communities to help them avoid coming under attack, according to AFP.
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