Western-backed SDF troops report new gains in anti-ISIS campaign north Raqqa

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Kurdish female fighter, member of the SDF, taking position in anti-ISIS battlefront northeastern Syria. Photo: ARA New

ARA News

RAQQA – Supported by the US-led coalition, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Wednesday continued their operations against the radical group of Islamic State (ISIS) in the northern countryside of Raqqa for the second consecutive day.

The SDF troops on Wednesday recaptured four villages in the northern countryside of Raqqa–the de facto capital of the Islamic State.

“Our forces advanced in Raqqa, regaining territory with a depth of more than 6km from the northern border of the province,” the SDF leadership said in a statement.

Subsequent to clashes with ISIS militant fighters, the SDF alliance liberated the villages of Qartaja, al-Fastah, Indebin and Matmasraja.

“We have also expelled ISIS terrorists from the surrounding farms. The liberated areas will serve as a pad from which our troops could extend their operations until liberating the entire northern countryside of Raqqa from those terrorists, and then advance towards the city itself,” SDF officer Hebun Osman told ARA News.

The western-backed SDF troop also destroyed two ISIS vehicles and seized a deal of ammunition after recapturing the four villages on Wednesday.

According to the Kurdish officer, the coalition’s air cover is helping their troops to advance on the ground. 

“The battle for northern Raqqa has started, and our advance will continue until we cleanse the entire province from ISIS,” Osman said.

The western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Tuesday afternoon launched an operation to capture the countryside of Raqqa from the Islamic State (ISIS) group, military sources told ARA News. 

“Cleansing these territories from ISIS starts now from the north of Raqqa,” Kurdish Defence Minister of the Rojava Auto-Administration told ARA News in Kobane.

“We began the operation to liberate northern Raqqa with the participation of all the Syrian democratic forces and the support of the international coalition aircraft. The goal of the campaign is to liberate the people of this region from the injustices of the ISIS mercenaries. Through this campaign, we will liberate the north of Raqqa,” said Abu Fayyad, SDF commander in Tel Abyad city–north of Raqqa. 

“This operation is important in that it will continue to apply direct pressure on ISIS inside of the city of Raqqa,” Washington-based Middle East researcher at the Centre for a New American Security, Nicholas Heras, told ARA News. “However, the importance of the current campaign should not be overstated. There is still some time left to go before the civil and military structures to replace ISIS in the city of Raqqa have been built up by the Coalition through the SDF.”

Reporting by: Ahmed Shiwesh

Source: ARA News

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