Raqqa – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Saturday announced the begin of the second phase of Euphrates Wrath Operation to combat Islamic State’s (ISIS) militants in their de facto capital Raqqa.
Cihan Shekh Ehmed, spokesperson of the SDF-led Euphrates Wrath Operation, told a press conference: “The Syrian Democratic Forces decided to launch the second phase of the Euphrates Wrath Operation. This stage is aimed at liberating the western countryside of Raqqa from ISIS, beside completing the isolation of Raqqa City.”
“The operation will continue until all goals are accomplished,” she said.
According to the SDF spokeswoman, more than 1500 Arab fighters have joined the Kurdish-led SDF in the fight for Raqqa.
“We also announce that the Euphrates Wrath Operation has been expanding with new factions joining the SDF ranks to eliminate ISIS in Raqqa,” Cihan said. “More than 1500 Arab fighters have joined the Syrian Democratic Forces in battle for Raqqa, and they’ve been equipped by the US-led coalition.”
“The new factions include the Deir Ezzor Military Council, Raqqa Revolutionary Battalion and the Elite Forces affiliated with the Syrian Future Movement.
“We want to stress that the coordination between the SDF and the Western Coalition has reached a high level,” she said, adding: “This coordination and cooperation will ensure a successful second phase of the Euphrates Wrath Operation.”
The Kurdish official also stressed that after expelling ISIS from Raqqa, the city will be run by a local civilian council.
“Once liberated, the city of Raqqa will be run by its own people, by a civilian council established locally and representatives elected by the people of Raqqa,” she said.
Four weeks ago, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces launched the Euphrates Wrath Operation, with support from the US-led coalition. The operation’s long-term objective is the isolation and elimination of the Islamic State in Raqqa.
During the first phase of Euphrates Wrath, SDF soldiers captured an area measuring approximately 560 km2, containing dozens of towns, villages and farms. Military sources told ARA News that more than 185 ISIS jihadists have been killed since November 6.
The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), Syriac Military Council, Raqqa Revolutionaries Battalion and Tel Abyad Revolutionary Brigade are participating in Euphrates Wrath. In addition to these local fighters, foreign soldiers from a half-dozen nations are participating, either as YPG volunteers or under the auspices of the US-led coalition.
Reporting by: Heysem Heci | Source: ARA News