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    The Syrian Democratic Forces are continuing to fight a pitched battle against Islamist militants in the northern regions of the country, according to Rezan Hido, a Syrian Democratic Forces Congress representative from the town of Afrin.

    "Syrian Democratic Forces units are currently deployed 3 kilometers away from Azaz. That town has significant strategic importance to us as the al-Nusra and Ahrar ash-Sham jihadists use it to stage attacks against Afrin. We do all we can to drive the militants from the town," Hido told Sputnik.

    If the residents of Azaz ask for help, the Syrian Democratic Forces, a pro-democratic alliance of Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian, Armenian, and Turkmen militias, are ready to clear the town of terrorists, he added. Azaz is located between a region of northern Aleppo province controlled by the Kurds and the section of the region of Syria bordering Turkey which is controlled by Daesh. While the Western media has often described the forces controlling the area around Azaz as a mixture of moderates and Islamic extremists, Hido stresses that the former are in the minority.

    "The elements of the Free Syrian Army are present in the town, but they are few in number and cannot control the situation. The biggest part of Azaz is currently controlled by al-Nusra and Ahrar ash-Sham militants," Hido pointed out. Ahrar ash-Sham is a Qatari-funded coalition of Islamist and Salafist units which is integrated within the Islamic Front and allied with al-Qaeda's al-Nusra Front.

    He also noted that Russian military aircraft pounding the Islamist forces in the vicinity of Azaz and Afrin have provided considerable assistance to the Democratic Forces.

    "Russian aircraft bomb Daesh-controlled oil wells which the Islamists use to supply oil to Turkey. We support Russia’s actions aimed at exterminating terrorist groups in Syria. The Russian airborne operation is like an ambulance delivering an injured person to a hospital," said Hido.

    "We’re grateful to Russia for the support. Russia is the only country that provides us assistance in the region, and its actions aimed at combating terrorism are extremely effective," he added.

    According to Hido, the clashes in the region between the Democratic Forces and the Islamist militants continue. He also remarked that several al-Nusra and Ahrar ash-Sham captives taken by the Democratic Forces turned out to be Turkish citizens.

    "We intend to publish the names of all people who aid these terrorist groups,” Hido said. “The weapons that Turkey ships to Azaz are bound for al-Nusra and Ahrar ash-Sham militants. We also spotted a Turkish reconnaissance UAV over one of the villages near Azaz two days ago."


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