On February 16th, 2016 a newly formed coalition of 6,000 fighters advanced on the strategically important town of Al-Shaddadi, Syria. The town, located in the southern part of Rojava (also known as Syrian Kurdistan), was captured by the al-Nusra Front—and ISIS forces later on—early in the Syrian Civil War. The coalition is the first of its kind, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, or simply the “SDF.” This alliance was formed in late 2015 by the Kurds and other ethnic groups including Arabs, Assyrians, Armenians, Chechens, and many others with the common goal of liberating Syrian Kurdistan from the Islamic State.
Three reporters from the international news channel France 24 joined the SDF fighters through the 10-day offensive that left over 400 ISIS militants dead at the cost of 26 SDF fighters. The journalists filmed their experience, and the 35-minute documentary was released on April 22nd.
On the front lines of the battle, the SDF fighters were joined by what looks to be a contingent of U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers providing sniper and close air support (CAS) against ISIS fighters. The operators on the ground coordinated over 86 air strikes during the 10-day operation. Al-Shaddadi was liberated, costing ISIS an important foothold in the region and leaving their capital of Al-Raqqah in the sights of the 80,000-strong SDF.
The full video can be seen here, with the U.S. special operations forces making an appearance at the 9:30 mark.
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