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US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces says it has captured an Irish citizen fighting for Islamic State

The Kurdish-led forces said that it had arrested five militants who had been fighting for the Islamic State.

File photo of Islamic State fighters.
File photo of Islamic State fighters.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

A US-BACKED group says that it has captured an Irish citizen fighting for Islamic State in Syria. 

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said that it had arrested five militants who had been fighting for the Islamic State.

It reported that one of these was a 45-year-old man originally from Dublin, Ireland.

Two of the other men are from the US, while the other two are from Pakistan. 

In a statement, the SDF – which mainly fights against Islamic State and other extremist groups in Syria – said that it was carrying out operation Jazeera Storm, which has the aim of “liberating the last regions under the occupation of ISIS”.

“ISIS, which is now cornered in a small area after being cleared from large swathes of territory it once held, is suffering heavy losses due to operations of our forces,” the group said. 

It said that terrorist groups had been attempting to “carry out attack several times” to prevent the advance of the SPF.

“In this context, a group of terrorists who had been preparing to attack the civilians who were trying to get out of the war zone in masses was detected,” they said. 

It said that an operation was carried out by its forces and as a result, the five men had been captured. 

The SDF, a coalition dominated by Kurdish fighters, has spearheaded the fight against IS, supported by several Western countries including the United Kingdom.

The international alliance seized the key IS holdout of Hajin in December after months of fighting that has seen the jihadists launch vicious counter-attacks.

Last month US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of around 2,000 soldiers from Syria, deployed to support the SDF, claiming IS had been defeated.

The Syrian war, which began in 2011, has caused more than 370,000 deaths and forced millions of people to flee their homes.

With reporting from © AFP 2019

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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