ARA News

Backed by Russian air cover, Syrian regime forces reach Raqqa border

ARA News 

RAQQA – Forces loyal to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have reached the border of Raqqa province in northeastern Syria, in preparation to fight the Islamic State (ISIS) in the group’s de facto capital, military sources reported don Saturday. 

Supported by a Russian air cover, the Syrian army and allied militias have reached the southeastern border of Raqqa province. 

This comes amid continuous fighting between the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and ISIS militants in the northern countryside of Raqqa, where the Kurdish-led SDF has recaptured dozens of villages and farms over the past few days. 

On the other hand, the Syrian regime troops try to take part in the battle for Raqqa with the support of Russia. 

“Our forces have reached the administrative borders of Raqqa province after killing a number of Daesh terrorists,” a Syrian army officer told ARA News, using another acronym for ISIS.

“This is a Syrian land, and the Syrian army is the only legitimate force to regain control of those areas from all terrorist groups, including those supported by the West,” he said, in reference to the SDF as a US-backed Syrian force. 

Noteworthy, the Syrian regime troops had no presence in Raqqa province since summer 2014, when ISIS took over the air base of Tabqa and executed a number of army soldiers. 

Commenting on the Syrian army advance, SDF official Habun Osman told ARA News: “The Assad regime withdrew their forces from Raqqa in August 2014 and left it to ISIS. Now they try to return to the province after witnessing the SDF progress against ISIS in northern Raqqa.”

“We, as Kurds, Arabs, Christians and other components of northern Syria, have been fighting those terrorists for years, while pro-Assad troops handed over all those areas to ISIS and headed to other places to defend the regime,” Osman said.

“We are here defending the people, while they’re playing political games. This is our fight, once Raqqa is liberated it will be run by its own people not by a regime that has killed thousands of innocent civilians,” the SDF official told ARA News. 

Reporting by”: Eyaz Ciziri

Source: ARA News