The PKK-affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is currently conducting an open war against Turkey, plays a key role in the fight against Daesh according to its main backers, namely the U.S. and Europe. The PYD and its international backers have admitted that Daesh still exists despite its retreat into the desert between the Iraq-Syria border and claim the PYD's existence is crucial for preventing the re-expansion of the terrorist group. However, recent developments have indicated that the forces confronting Daesh are actually loyal to the Syrian regime.
Yesterday, Daesh-affiliated media said the son of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed during a fight with Syrian and Russian troops in Homs. Identifying a young man as Huthaifa al-Badri in a picture, Daesh said he was Baghdadi's young son. Though details on exactly when he was killed are unknown, a statement said the young man was killed during a fight with Syrian and Russian troops when the latter raided a power station. Homs is in the western region of the country between Idlib and Damascus. It is believed that Daesh still has a small presence in the area, including in the Yarmouk refugee camp. Yet, it is not clear whether the group is as organized as before. During Turkey's military incursions in al-Bab and Jarablus, the group was erased from the north, retreating to the south.
In the country's east, mainly in Raqqa, regime forces and Russian troops targeted Daesh militants. Recapturing several towns and villages around Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, forces loyal to the regime are fighting the militants locally. Fars News Agency on Wednesday reported that certain tribes loyal to the regime have marched to Raqqa, chanting slogans against Daesh.
Meanwhile, the PYD claims that its existence is crucial for the fight against Daesh. The U.S.-led anti-Daesh coalition has been carrying out aerial attacks on Daesh positions; although recently the U.S., under the pretext of fighting Daesh, claimed to have attacked some other forces on the ground, including those loyal to Iran. Besides, the PYD's fight has focused on Turkey with the group frequently targeting Turkish security forces near the border. By providing training areas for PKK militants, the PYD has helped the separatist terror organization carry out attacks in Turkey.
The PYD has expressed its plans to seek autonomy despite the expressed concerns of Turkey, Russia and the regime. According to recent reports in Lebanese media, the PYD and the Syrian regime signed a preliminary agreement on Monday in al-Hasakah, a city in the country's north where both PYD and the regime forces exist. Al-Masdar newspaper claimed that the agreement foresees that PYD militants will join regime forces and handover some villages near the Turkish and Iraqi borders. In return, the Kurdish language will be part of Syria's educational system, fighting for the PYD will be counted as a service in the regime's army and a Kurdish official will have a permanent seat in the Oil Ministry.
Regardless of whether the agreement will be implemented or not, it is certain that the PYD's agenda extends beyond U.S. claims that its sole purpose is to aid in the fight against Daesh.