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Syrian Kurdish leader Salih Muslim warns of 'forceful response' to Iran-linked attacks

Muslim's spoke to Al-Monitor two days after an attack on an SDF training camp in Deir Ezzor by Iran-backed militias left six dead.
Salih Muslim, the diplomatic relations official for the Kurdish Movement for a Democratic Society, and the former co-chairman of the main Kurdish leftist Democratic Union Party (PYD), speaks during an interview in his office on August 2, 2018.

Syrian Kurdish forces will retaliate against any further attacks by Iran-backed Shiite militia groups, a top Syrian Kurdish official said Wednesday. In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, Salih Muslim, the co-chair of the Democratic Unity Party, which shares power in the Syrian Kurds’ self-declared government in northeast Syria, warned, “If they repeat their attacks, our guys will respond very forcefully. Their aim, obviously, is to blow up our partnership with the United States. We will not be deterred,” Muslim said.

Muslim was referring to the attack early Monday on a training camp run by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Deir Ezzor, an Arab majority province bordering Iraq, that left six of its fighters dead. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella group of Iran-backed Shiite militias, claimed responsibility for the drone strike on the facility near the al-Omar field, which contains Syria’s largest proven reserves of oil and gas.

US special operation forces are based near al-Omar to fend off potential moves by the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to reclaim the fields, which are the main source of income for the Kurdish-led administration in northeast Syria.

Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder said on Monday that the drone landed several kilometers away from the US base known as Mission Support Site Green Village. A US official told Al-Monitor that the drone caused significant damage to infrastructure. It remains unclear if and how the strike affected production.

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