Over 530 ISIS jihadists killed, 133 villages liberated in the second phase of the Raqqa campaign


SDF fighters clearing a village in northern Raqqa after ISIS expulsion. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

Raqqa – 133 villages have been liberated by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) since they launched the second phase of the battle for Raqqa. Military sources reported that the Kurdish-led alliance has also eliminated at least 536 Islamic State (ISIS) militants.

“Since 10 December, 2016, our forces have been able to eliminate 536 ISIS terrorists, taking 12 terrorists as captives, and liberating 133 villages in western Raqqa,” the SDF leadership said in a statement on Thursday.

Backed by coalition airstrikes, SDF troops have now expelled ISIS from most of the Raqqa’s western countryside, linking up with their compatriots and forming a 60 km long front.

The SDF, which includes allied Kurdish, Arab and Assyrian militias, concurrently announced that it has captured 2144 km² in western Raqqa Governorate. During the first phase of Euphrates Wrath, which began on November 6, the SDF liberated roughly 560 km² in northern Raqqa.

“Our specialized teams are now clearing the liberated territories, [removing] the explosives and landmines that have been planted by ISIS to impede our progress towards Raqqa city,” Kurdish officer Habun Osman told ARA News.

The SDF launched the second phase of the Euphrates Wrath Operation with the objective of securing Raqqa’s western countryside and Tabqa Dam, which bridges the Euphrates River. The first phase of the operation focused on securing the banks of the Balikh River.

The long-term objective of Euphrates Wrath remains the elimination of the Islamic State in its de facto capital, Raqqa city.

Reporting by: Ahmed Shiwesh | Source: ARA News

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