SDF says 45% of Raqqa city liberated, operations ongoing

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Leadership of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) speaking to a press conference in western Raqqa. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) reported on Monday that 45 per cent of Raqqa city has been liberated from ISIS militants since the launch of a major operation to retake the city from the radical group last month.

The spokesperson of the SDF-led Euphrates Wrath Operation, Jihan Sheikh Ahmad, confirmed that they have liberated 45% of Raqqa city.

“After 47 days of the Great Battle for al-Raqqa liberation have passed, the Euphrates Wrath operation room fighters liberated 8 neighborhoods, and 45% of the city is held by our fighters,” she told local reporters.

According to Jihan Sheikh Ahmad, battles are ongoing in 6 neighborhoods, and strongly in the four outskirts of the city, and 2 neighborhoods of these (Hisham Abdul Melek in southern Raqqa and al-Barid northwest of the city) “are about to be liberated”.

“We encircled the mercenaries [ISIS] in the city from 4 sides, and combing operations are ongoing in the four sides, and our forces with their special groups move to dismantle and remove the mines and open roads to liberate the civilians,” the Kurdish official said.

Last week, Brett McGurk, Special Presidential Envoy for Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, said that at least 30 per cent of Raqqa is liberated so far.

“ISIS terrorists surrounded and besieged. City 30 percent cleared (23 sq/kms in last week). SDF advancing from 4 directions,” he said on Twitter.

On Sunday, the US-backed forces seized more ground in Raqqa city after hitting ISIS’s defences. “Today the SDF made progress in the neighbourhoods of al-Muazzafin, al-Hamra and Nazlat Shehada in the city of Raqqa, where clashes are still ongoing,” a spokesman for the SDF told ARA News.

“We hit the enemy’s defences in these key neighbourhoods,” the official said. At least 14 ISIS militants were killed and three others were taken into captivity by the Syrian Democratic Forces on Sunday.

“The SDF also seized weapons and ammunition from ISIS terrorists during the clashes,” the official told ARA News.

This comes after the SDF launched a major operation to liberate the city of Raqqa from ISIS radicals.

Raqqa has been known as a de facto capital for the ISIS self-proclaimed Caliphate since the summer of 2014.

On June 6, the Syrian Democratic Forces announced the official start of the battle for Raqqa city.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg & Dilber Issa | Source: ARA News

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