Syrian Democratic Forces seize more ground east Raqqa amid ISIS retreat

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SDF fighters in eastern Raqqa. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

Raqqa – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Saturday expelled Islamic State’s (ISIS) militants form the strategic town of Meyzla east of Raqqa, in northeastern Syria.

The SDF specialised teams also started to dismantle ISIS explosives and landmines in the town.

The town of Meyzla is located some 11km from Raqqa city centre. Its strategic location may help the SDF accelerate the battle for eastern Raqqa.

“Our forces are now in control of the Meyzla town, where ISIS was using civilians as human shields. The town is completely liberated now,” SDF officer Mahmoud Khalaf, told ARA News.

According to the SDF, nearly 70% of fighters participating in the Euphrates Wrath Operation in eastern Raqqa are Arabs.

One of the main difficulties facing the Kurdish-led SDF is that ISIS has been using civilians as human shields to protect its de facto capital.

We have carefully advanced towards this town to prevent civilian casualties, as ISIS terrorists were using the people as human shields,” Ahmad Abdullah, an SDF fighter, told ARA News at the frontline in eastern Raqqa.

“We need two days to completely dismantle landmines and explosives here in order to allow a safe return of civilians,” he said.

Since the launch of the third phase of Euphrates Wrathn Operation for Raqqa on 4 February, the SDF has been able to seize control of more than 700 square kilometre, beside liberating many civilians from ISIS.

The operation was launched from three axis; al-Qaderiya area, Jaabar Citadel and Suluk town with the ultimate goal of isolating ISIS inside Raqqa city.

Mustafa Muhammad, an SDF military leader, told ARA News that they’ve expelled ISIS from dozens of villages in the eastern countryside of Raqqa.

“We liberated at least 30 villages [in recent operations],” he said. “This campaign is mainly aimed at isolating Raqqa city.”

Reporting by: Enwer Omar | Source: ARA News

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