US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces expel ISIS from 97 villages in western Raqqa

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Officers of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) monitoring a recently established military camp in western Raqqa. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

Raqqa – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have continued to make rapid progress in their campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS). The pluralist coalition announced on Tuesday that -in just ten days- they had captured 97 villages in western Raqqa Governorate.

“Our forces advanced towards Raqqa from two axes, al-Qadiriyah and Kerdoshan,” the SDF declared. “The operation will continue until we’ve liberated western Raqqa, which is the main goal of this phase of the Euphrates Wrath Operation.”

At a press conference in Jahisha town, the Syrian Democratic Forces’ leadership enumerated their accomplishments, since the start of the campaign’s second phase.

Notably, they disclosed that their soldiers have secured an area measuring approximately 1300 km². During the first phase of Euphrates Wrath, the SDF captured roughly 560 km².

“We have dismantled more than 550 landmines that had been planted by ISIS in western Raqqa,” the SDF added. “The clashes are now centered in the vicinity of the Jaabar Citadel.”

The SDF launched the second phase of the Euphrates Wrath Operation on December 10, with the objective of securing Raqqa’s western countryside and Tabqa Dam, which bridges the Euphrates River. The long-term objective of Euphrates Wrath is the elimination of the Islamic State in its de facto capital, Raqqa city.

Chin Sheikh Ahmed, the Official Spokesperson for the Euphrates Wrath Operation, told ARA News: “At least 96 ISIS militants have been killed so far and seven militants were arrested in this phase of the operation. Also, one ISIS militant surrendered with his family to the Syrian Democratic Forces.”

According to Abdulqadir Fadel, a member of the Euphrates Wrath tactical center, American military experts played a key role in preparing the SDF forces for this operation.

“The US-led coalition continues to provide support to our forces in the campaign. There are also Western military experts participating in this operation,” Fadel told ARA News. “In the framework of this operation, various factions have joined the SDF, […] at the request of the Arab tribes in the liberated areas.”

Reporting by: Enwer Omar | Source: ARA News 

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