Deir Ezzor 24 network conducted an exclusive interview with the international Coalition’s spokesman “Colonel Myles Caggins”. The interview covered most of the questions that many people are interested to know answers to. Colonel Caggins answered most of the questions we asked:
1- Recently, there have been intensive security operations against Daesh, especially the airborne operations. Do you think that these operations are sufficient to eliminate Daesh cells?
Last week alone, our Syrian partners detained or killed 23 Daesh operatives in northeast Syria, including four key leaders. The removal of Daesh fighters, enablers and leaders such as these disrupts Daesh’s ability to rebuild and commit terrorist attacks against our partners and innocent civilians in the region. The suppression of Daesh and violent extremist ideologies continues, and the Coalition remains committed to supporting our Syrian partners in the lasting defeat of these threats.
2- How do you assess the general situation in eastern Syria?
Daesh is unsuccessfully trying to regenerate by through their lies on social media and cowardly attacks on innocent people, infrastructure and crops. Due to the relentless pressure maintained by the SDF, Daesh’s remaining leadership in the area continues to dwindle. While progress has been made, we must remain focused on Daesh’s enduring defeat.
3- Is the Coalition involved in securing and promoting civilian life? What role does the Coalition play in this regard?
We continue to work with the Syrian Democratic Forces, especially during this COVID pandemic, to ensure the safety, security and stability of the region to allow UN, World Health Organization, and other non-governmental organizations to support the medical needs of the population in northeast Syria.
4- You held a series of meetings with actors in Deir Ezzor, what are you seeking for?
The leadership of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Special Operations Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (SOJTF-OIR) regularly communicate to discuss the ongoing threat from Daesh remnants, the challenges SDF faces in maintaining thousands of Daesh detainees in detention facilities across northeast Syria, and Coalition support to SDF operations against remaining Daesh sleeper cells and networks.
5- Deir Ezzor is the first line of defense against the Iranians, so the coalition is strengthening its forces there. Is there any strategy to enhance the region’s security against the Iranian threat?
Our mission is to support our partners in the defeat of Daesh, and we do not seek conflict with other groups. If attacked, we and our partners maintain the right to self-defense, and we have demonstrated that capability.
6- How do you see the Russian role in eastern Syria?
We expect the Russians to abide by agreements made; there is no reason for Russian forces to violate the boundaries of deconfliction zones.
7- How do you see the importance of developing the relationship with the Arab component in the ranks of the SDF and in other aspects?
SOJTF-OIR is committed to supporting our Syrian partners in the elimination of Daesh to protect against its resurgence in the region and to destroy its ability to franchise globally. This support extends to the entirety of the SDF – including the Arab, Kurdish, and people of other cultures and races who serve in it – because security, stability, and prosperity in the region depends on us all.
8- There are great fears that the U.S. forces might withdraw from eastern Syria, do you have any idea about how the next stage will be?
At this time there is no plan to withdraw Coalition forces from Northeast Syria. Our mission in Syria to assist our Syrian partners in securing the enduring defeat of Daesh continues.
9- What is the fate of Daesh operatives who have been detained since the liberation of Al-Baghuz, the last stronghold of the organization?
The detention of the Daesh fighters and enablers is at the sole discretion of our Syrian partners, and I must refer you to SDF for information on specific detainees. The thousands of Daesh detainees in detention facilities across northeast Syria pose a potential risk to the people of northeastern Syria and the world. A sustainable, international solution needs to be found for the long-term, humane detention of Daesh detainees.