US-backed SDF forces take over ISIS radio station in Tabqa

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Members of the SDF check a building formerly held by ISIS in northern Raqqa. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Tuesday took over the radio station of ISIS in the city of Tabqa in Raqqa province.

“The Syrian Democratic Forces made new progress in the city of Tabqa, taking control of the ISIS radio station,” Jesper Söder, a Swedish volunteer with the Syrian Democratic Forces told ARA News.

“The areas liberated by the SDF are used by civilians who escape the ISIS terrorists. The Syrian Democratic forces cleared all mines laid by Daesh [ISIS] around and in the village of Kabbash, west of Tabqah,” he said.

The SDF fighter told ARA News that Tabqa city could be liberated soon. “Maybe in a few days it is liberated,” he said.

Until now there are still several thousands of civilians stranded in the town of Tabqa amidst continued fighting between ISIS and the SDF forces.

SDF officials said they are trying to open safe corridors to secure the civilians.

In mid March, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), with their Syrian Arab Coalition fighters, launched a multi-pronged offensive behind enemy lines to liberate the Tabqa Dam from ISIS. Apache helicopters, U.S. Marine artillery and special operation troops were part of this operation to drop SDF fighters near Tabqa city.

“The Coalition supported this offensive with air movement and logistical support, precision airstrikes, Apache helicopters in close air support, Marine artillery, and special operations advice and assistance to SDF leadership,” the US-led coalition said in a statement.

So far, ISIS is still resisting.

“We are advancing in to Tabqa area everyday. But there is really hard resistance from Daesh [ISIS],” SDF member Söder told ARA News.

“So, we thought that the operation for the Raqqa city would start in April, but Daesh have put up a hard fight. I think we should have beaten them in Tabqa already, but they have good positions to defend themselves and even from aircrafts,” Söder said, adding: “A lot of human shields are being used by Daesh [ISIS].”

Retaking Tabqa would enable the SDF forces to storm Raqqa city–the de facto capital of the ISIS self-proclaimed Caliphate.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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