The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are a U.S. backed, supplied and trained Syrian militia that is being used by the U.S. coalition to fight the war against ISIS. The Pentagon has stated numerous times, that this SDF force is the best unit/militia in the area to fight against ISIS without using American or allied nations ground troops. Although, the U.S. military has just now under President Trump’s orders, have removed troop increase caps for both Iraq and Syria.
In the early hours of March 22nd of this year, SDF forces were picked up by a U.S. military transport helicopters and airlifted to the southern and western edges of the city of Tabqa in northern Syria. This area is vital to all of Syria because Tabqa dam is the largest dam in the country. It also falls in line with the SDF goal of removing ISIS from their old self declared capitol, Raqqa.
Seizing Tabqa from the terror of ISIS will also cut their supply lines to more northern cities near Aleppo from their strongholds in the eastern oil rich areas around Deir ez-Zor. After the SDF conquest in Tabqa is complete, and after the dam itself has been stabilized and regained from ISIS, the SDF fighters will be heading towards their operations goal of eliminating the ISIS capitol.
At this time most of the southern portions of Tabqa have been retaken by SDF forces but ISIS still controls the dam and a few buildings leading up to the dam.
With the troop caps for ground forces inside of Syria, and Iraq as well, the coalition against ISIS will most likely be seeing more conventional ground troops from allied nations like the U.S, France, UK, German and others to speed this anti ISIS campaign up. The coalition has stated that they are now focusing on removing ISIS from northern Syria and Raqqa, but after Raqqa, the prediction is that the SDF will move towards the oil in Deir ez-Zor, Syria.
Lets not forget that two resources were mentioned in an area of the planet where neither are extremely plentiful or easy to reach. Water and oil. Both are thought to be targets of the SDF campaign to defeat ISIS. This is a key reason in how ISIS blitzkrieged its way across the middle east.