In a recent interview, US Army Colonel Ryan Dillon who is a spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve said that the Turkish military’s incursion into Afrin was directly affecting the coalitions efforts to combat the Islamic State. The Syrian Democratic Forces have recently relocated a large amount of their forces in an effort to defend Afrin, effectively pulling them away from ISIS hot spots and causing coalition efforts to almost slow to a halt.

Col. Dillon has said, “That is our number one goal, our mission over the last three years has been the same and that is to defeat ISIS in Iraq and in Syria. And there’s no doubt about it, the events that have happened in Afrin – a bloody chapter in the recent history of what’s happened in Syria – it’s a human tragedy – there’s no question that the exodus of some SDF fighters has slowed our advance against those final remaining pockets of ISIS in Syria.”

He continued to say, “If those two [remaining ISIS-held] areas [in Syria] are beehives, the problem is that if you’re not poking them and if you’re not constantly going after them, then you are not going to see a lot of those bees, those ISIS elements starting to run. So that constant offensive pressure on ISIS makes them react, makes them move, makes them talk, which allows us to go after them and kill them with strikes. So that definitely has slowed down our progress against ISIS.”

Col. Dillon assured that the United States led coalition had no intention of abandoning the SDF and their Kurdish allies, “We remain committed to training and advising and supporting our SDF brethren and also the Manbij Military Council.”