SDF Launch Raqqa Assault to Recapture Daesh de Facto Capital in Syria

تم نشره في Tue 6 June / Jun 2017. 07:07 PM
  • Democratic Syria Units gunmen raising machineguns in salute in the city of Raqqa, north of Syria - (Reuters)

CAPITALS — US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said today, Tuesday, it had launched the offensive to recapture Raqqa, the ISIS de facto Syrian capital, piling pressure on the jihadists whose self-declared caliphate is in retreat across Syria and Iraq.

SDF spokesman Talal Silo told Reuters the operation started on Monday and the fighting would be "fierce because Daesh will die to defend their so-called capital".

The assault overlaps with the final stages of the US-backed attack to recapture the Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS.

It follows months of advances to the north, east and west of Raqqa by the SDF, which includes Arab and Kurdish militias.

ISIS captured Raqqa from rebel groups in 2014 and has used it as an operations base to plan attacks in the West. Silo said the assault had begun from the north, east and west of the city, which is bordered to the south by the River Euphrates.

The commander of the Raqqa campaign, Rojda Felat, told Reuters SDF fighters were attacking the al-Mishlab district at the city's southeastern outskirts, confirming an earlier report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A Reuters witness at the location could hear the sound of heavy shelling and air strikes in the distance.

The US-led coalition said the fight for Raqqa would be "long and difficult" but would deliver a "decisive blow to the idea of ISIS (ISIS) as a physical caliphate".