U.S.-backed SDF close in on Islamic State's stronghold in Syria

U.S.-backed SDF close in on Islamic State's stronghold in Syria
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters carry their weapons in Raqqa's western neighbourhood of Jazra, Syria June 11, 2017. REUTERS/Rodi Said
3 years ago

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RAQQA – The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured on Monday (June 12) two neighborhoods, closing in on the Islamic State’s Syrian de facto capital of Raqqa from the east and west of the city.

The SDF, a US-backed group of Kurdish and Arab fighters, drove ISIS insurgents out of al-Sina’a neighborhood east of al-Raqqa and Huteen neighborhood west of the city, Hawar News Agency reported.

The advance by the SDF came early in the morning after intense clashes during which over 20 militants were killed, the agency added.

Fighting is reportedly still ongoing between SDF fighters and ISIS optimists in the two neighborhoods.

The SDF announced on Sunday (June 11) the opening of a third front inside the Islamic State’s Syrian de facto capital of Raqqa, killing 11 militants .

The SDF said the area of al-Romaniya, on the western outskirts of ISIS-held Raqqa, is now free from the ultra-hardline group.

The SDF fighters broke into a second front inside the northern Syrian town on Saturday (June 10), capturing the western district of Sabahiyah.

SDF Spokesman Talal Sido said during a press conference on Tuesday (June 6) the group’s fighters have begun the operation to liberate Raqqa from ISIS militants.

The SDF have been advancing towards Raqqa on three fronts, and while progress has been rapid, some fierce clashes have broken out as ISIS militants look to stem the SDF’s advance.

(NRT)