Syrian Democratic Forces call on stranded ISIS militants in Raqqa to surrender


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

ARA News

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Tuesday called on members of the Islamic State (ISIS) to surrender within a maximum of 10 days to the SDF before they storm Raqqa.

The SDF appeal came in a joint statement with the elders of Raqqa’s tribes.

“We call upon all Syrians who joined the ranks of ISIS and those who carry arms, administrators or preachers, to surrender themselves to the nearest military base of the SDF to preserve his or her life and family, and the city from destruction,” the US-backed SDF said.

“We are ready to provide all relief and humanitarian support to those who surrender within a maximum of ten days,” the SDF said.

There are nearly 4,000 Islamic State militants fighting in Raqqa–the ISIS’ de facto capital in Syria. “We believe there are 3,000 to 4,000 ISIS fighters in Raqqa, including foreign fighters and various leadership figures,” said Colonel John Dorrian, a spokesperson for the US-led coalition.

The SDF asserted there is no difference if they surrender to the SDF, tribal leaders or the recently established Raqqa Civilian Council.

Furthermore, the Syrian Democratic Forces called on all civilians in Raqqa to stay away from ISIS positions, checkpoints and headquarters since they can be targeted by the US-led coalition or the SDF in the coming days.

This comes amid continued progress by the SDF as part of the Euphrates Wrath Operation to liberate Raqqa province from ISIS jihadists.

On 13 April, the Syrian Democratic Forces launched the fourth phase of the Euphrates Wrath Operation against Islamic State’s extremists to clear out the northern countryside of Raqqa.

During the first phase of Euphrates Wrath, which began on November 6, 2016, the SDF liberated roughly 560 km² in Northern Raqqa.

On 10 December, 2016, the SDF launched the second phase of the Euphrates Wrath, during which it captured over 2500 km² in Western Raqqa.

On 4 February, 2017, the Syrian Democratic Forces launched the third phase of the Euphrates Wrath Operation, and liberated dozens of villages in Eastern Raqqa from ISIS jihadists.

The campaign is ultimately aimed at liberating the city of Raqqa from ISIS extremists.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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