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U.S. forces, allies clear out ISIS caves in Syria

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SOUTHWEST ASIA, Dec. 27, 2017 — In partnership with coalition forces, the Maghawir al-Thawra conducted a series of ground clearance operations Dec. 23 to drive Islamic State of Iraq and Syria terrorists out of the Hamad Desert in southern Syria, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

 The Maghawir al-Thawra, a vetted Syrian opposition force, has been fighting ISIS in the tri-border area of Iraq, Syria, and Jordan since 2015, according to officials.

Ongoing successful operations follow previous engagements earlier this month, in which the Maghawir al-Thawra, also known as MaT, killed several ISIS terrorists in the 34-mile de-confliction zone recognized by the coalition, Russia and the Syrian regime, officials said.

“The combined operations are a result of many hours of planning, building trust and close cooperation between coalition Special Operations Forces and the MaT,” said Army Maj. Gen. James B. Jarrard, the commander of Operation Inherent Resolve’s Special Operations Joint Task Force.

5th Special Forces Group (A) Operation Detachment Bravo 5310 arrives to meet Major General James Jarrard at the Landing Zone at base camp Al Tanf Garrison in southern Syria (Army photo)

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Operations have disrupted ISIS’ freedom of movement by clearing several caves the terrorist organization has historically used to store weapons, explosives and communications equipment, officials said.

The ISIS terrorists were using the area to transit from the Euphrates River Valley, where they have enjoyed relative freedom of movement while fleeing the coalition’s successful Syrian Democratic Forces partners, according to officials.

Recent defeat-ISIS operations conducted by the MaT confirm the de-confliction zone remains inhospitable to the terrorists, officials said.

“ISIS has repeatedly surfaced in the Hamad Desert,” Jarrard said. “However, inside the de-confliction zone, our partner forces have successfully thwarted ISIS’ movements.”

The cave clearing operations highlight the MaT’s professionalism, tactical skill and their overall impact as an effective security force within the de-confliction zone, officials said.

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