DAMASCUS, A total of 10 fighters with the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been taken hostage by the Islamic State (IS) during battles in eastern Syria, a war monitor reported on Thursday.
The IS militants took hostage the ten SDF fighters during a counter offensive on the SDF positions in the town of Hajin in the eastern countryside of Deir al-Zour province, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The London-based watchdog group said six more SDF fighters had gone missing in the same battles that took place in the last IS-held pocket on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River.
The battles, which took place on Wednesday evening, happened after the SDF brought in reinforcements of 500 fighters to help in defeating the IS militants in their last stronghold in the eastern countryside of Deir al-Zour.
The Observatory said the SDF was heavily shelling the IS positions in eastern Deir al-Zour. It added, however, that the U.S.-led coalition is not targeting the IS positions.
It said the SDF has called for backup from the coalition’s warplanes, but they didn’t get the help.
Citing sources, the war monitor said one of the IS militants intercepted the communication of the SDF and said the “warplane will not strike.”
The SDF has started its operation in eastern Deir al-Zour on Sept. 10 with the help of the U.S.-led coalition.
The defensive tactics of the IS, such as landmines and suicide bombings, and the bad weather conditions have contributed in slowing down the operation despite the fact that the Kurdish-led SDF managed to capture several positions from IS in Hajin and the town of Souseh.
The Syrian army has cleared IS militants from large swathes of areas in Deir al-Zour, while the SDF is attempting to consolidate positions in the strategic oil-rich northern and northeastern countryside of the province near the Iraqi border.
The Syrian government has for long accused the U.S.-led coalition of supporting IS under the table while pretending to be fighting it publicly.
The government has even accused the U.S. of committing massacres in Deir al-Zour, where 63 people have been killed this week as a result of the coalition’s airstrikes on IS-held areas in Deir al-Zour.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK