US respects deal reached between SDF and Daesh to evacuate terrorists, official says
The U.S. respects the secret agreement the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) made with Daesh to leave Raqqa, Department of Defense Spokesman on Iraq and Syria said Monday.
Spokesman Eric Pahon told Anadolu Agency that the agreement between SDF and Daesh is a "local solution to a local problem," and that the SDF, which is dominated by the People's Protection Units (YPG), considered by Turkey as the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organization, signed the agreement at a period when the U.S.-led coalition against Daesh had difficulty carrying out airstrikes due to the number of civilians in the area.
Pahon claimed that the agreement aimed to "protect civilians" and that although the U.S. may not always be on the same page with its partners regarding the resolution of some issues, it respects partners finding their own solutions to their own problems.
A senior official from the coalition against Daesh observed the agreement, the spokesman said, while denying claims that the coalition was a part of the deal.
Earlier, BBC reported that a secret deal was made between Daesh and SDF, alalowing hundreds of Daesh terrorists to escape Raqqa.
In response to this, Army Colonel Ryan Dillon who is the Spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the U.S.-led coalition against Daesh said that the deal was not a secret and added that it was a "local solution to a local problem."
Top U.S. envoy for the anti-Daesh coalition Brett McGurk had previously stated that foreign fighters in Raqqa would die in the city.
Since June, the U.S.-backed YPG forces were battling to defeat Daesh terrorists in Raqqa, which served as the terrorist group's de facto capital in Syria and declared victory in the city in October.
Despite its fall, the group's media apparatus has remained active and its fighters are likely to keep up their insurgency from desert areas.
In late August, Russia-backed Assad regime was involved in a similar evacuation deal with Daesh terrorists regarding their enclave on the border with Lebanon. Under protests, monitoring and airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition, it took more than 15 days for the evacuation convoy to reach central city of Deir el-Zour.