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Have YPG or SDF operations around Tabqa and Raqqa been paused?

On April 26 reports circulated that the YPG had paused operations around Tabqa and Raqqa as a result of a Turkish air assault that killed 12 YPJ and 8 YPG fighters the previous day.

We sought confirmation from the US coalition but the response was contradicted later by spokesperson Col. John Dorrian in a public press briefing.

Times below are GMT.

Email to CJTF-OIR press desk

“Some YPG fighters are saying that they halted all operations near Raqqa and Tabqa until the coalition takes action against the Turkish attacks. Can you confirm that the operations have stopped? Is the coalition in talks with the Turkish military regarding the attacks or is it a political matter?”

CJTF-OIR response, 14:45

Yes, the operations have stopped.

The Coalition is deeply concerned that Turkish air strikes killed several Peshmerga soldiers in Iraq as well as partnered Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria, who are currently fighting to rid the world of ISIS.

We recognize the threat the PKK poses to Turkey, but Turkey cannot pursue that fight at the expense of our common fight against terrorists that threaten us all.

Turkey conducted the strikes in northern Syria and northern Iraq without proper coordination with the Coalition to ensure the safety of our forces.

The Coalition also notes the concerns expressed by the government of Iraq and reaffirm our view that any military action in Iraq should respect Iraqi sovereignty and territorial integrity.

We call on all countries in the region to do the same and encourage all forces to remain focused on the fight to defeat ISIS, which is the greatest threat to regional and worldwide peace and security.

CJTF-Operation Inherent Resolve, Public Affairs Office, Press Desk

CJTF-OIR briefing with Col. Dorrian, spokesman for the Coalition

Approx 17:15

“Is there a concern at CJTF that these Turkish airstrikes might have an impact on the ability, the willingness of the YPG to continue [advancing] on Raqqa when they are being attack by US NATO ally?”

Col. Dorrian

“What we have seen since the attacks on the SDF were done, is that they have cleared more than 200 square kilometers of territory in the north of Raqqa to further isolate that city, so they have also continued their advance into Tabqa … I am not going to speculate what else might happen, but I am going to tell you what we have observed so far.”

Follow-up email

Col. Dorrian just said in the briefing that since the attacks, YPG have cleared 200km2 of territory north of Raqqa and continued advance into Tabqa. So I am trying to reconcile this with the statement we got that the operations have stopped. There are claims on social media supporting the idea that the operations were halted:

A further email to clarify our question

Col. Dorrian said the SDF has cleared 200km2 of territory north of Raqqa and continued advance into Tabqa. Given the previous statement, does it mean that the YPG has stopped operations while the other militias under the SDF umbrella are advancing?

Could you please clarify it?

CJTF-OIR response, 18:12

We have no indication SDF have ceased operations to isolate Raqqah. In the last 48 hours they have cleared more than 200 km2 north of Raqqah.

CJTF-Operation Inherent Resolve, Public Affairs Office, Press Desk

Open-source info


Draw your own.

The first email we received from the CJTF-OIR press desk said “Yes, the operations have stopped.”

This may be referring to Turkish operations or YPG operations or SDF operations or all three or none.

Later statements by Col. Dorrian and emails received after requests for clarification appear on the surface to be contradictory.

Open-source info is contradictory.

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