YPG closing in on IS way station

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Kurdish YPG forces reached within 20km northeast of an Islamic State (IS)-held village on Thursday along the Syria-Iraq border that serves as a way-station for IS guns and fighters flowing from Iraq into Syria, a Hasakah-based journalist told Syria Direct on Thursday. “Coalition Apache helicopter gunships supported the Kurdish ground assault on al-Hawl–the site where IS forces in Iraq’s Sinjar province cross into Syria,” said Majid al-Hasakawi. IS forces reportedly attempted a novel countermeasure against coalition air strikes, as foot soldiers “dug trenches around al-Hawl, filling each with crude oil, which they then plan to set alight, to blacken the skies and blind coalition war planes supporting the Kurdish assault,” added al-Hasakawi. The fight for al-Hawl, 40km southeast of Al-Hasakah city, is ongoing, reported pro-regime news agency Dam Press on Thursday. Although scattered news and social media reports additionally noted the use of coalition Apaches during the fight, Syria Direct could not immediately verify the weapon system’s deployment in Al-Hasakah.