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Despite the Turkey offensive in North-East Syria, Sand Hippos continue their anti-ISIS mission. For the first time, the ghosts unveal a bit of their efforts to track Islamic State network and sympathizers
In the middle of Turkey’s offensive in north-est of Syria, a group is chasing Isis fugitives from SDF prisons. It’s dubbed Sand Hippos and it’s very mysterious. No one knows anything about nationality, number of elements and goals. For the first time the “ghosts”, as the brave been nicknamed by local population speaks about what’s going on. He’s name is K. and he’s a squad leader of the team. “Now we are focusing on Isis fugitives, after Turkey bombed many camps in north of Syria. When they left the prisons, they started moving circuitously, to avoid as much as possible, to be seen. This before they can link up with Islamic States’s safe houses”. In this scenario, “when we spot them, we don’t attack. We let them get to destinations, to better learn Daesh networks and sympathizers”.
Turkey conveniently attacked near US bases and prisons. There’s no mistake in doing that. Ankara wants to use Daesh as a weapon to keep SDF engaged and mine their defences from inside
About the ongoing Turkish offensive, K. prefer to not express a view. “We try to move away respect TAF attacks area”. But on one thing he’s certain. Ankara “conveniently attacked near US bases and prisons. There was no mistake in doing that”. This, because Isis fugitives are a good weapon against Kurds. Islamic State’s militia keep SDF engaged and mine their defences from inside. The fugitives, in fact, were mostly foreign fighters and families who don’t know where to flee. Some of them want to move towards borders with Turkey and in the Badia Al-Sham Desert. Others, preferred to start again fighting against arab-kurdish force. Furthermore Daesh fighters will try to free their comrades, still in prisons. Especially the ones in the Al-Hol Camp.
Isis is not the only enemy for Jazeera Storm and Kurds in East Syria. Sand Hippos monitor pro-Iran militia, Russia’s Wagner and SAA along the Euphrates
But Isis is not the only enemy for SDF and Kurds in East Syria. There is also pro-Iran militia, very active in south, near Iraq borders in Abu Kamal and Deir Ezzor. The Sand Hippos squad leader explained that “there is a mix of Russian Wagner Group, Iran militia and SAA elements along the Euphrates. They are building up their presence, but at this moment no one has still moved against SDF. Howerver, we keep eyes also on them to track any change in posture”. The “ghosts”, in fact operate in some detachments, each one with its Area of Operation and mission. Inside it, there are well diversified and amalgamated. Some one defines them the heirs of the World War II’s Jedsburghs. What is certain is that if you ask Syrians about them or where they are, they mime some kind of rocket which their hand and answer “Whoosh”.