SDF Fighters Establish Control over 570KM of ISIS-Stronghold Raqqa Province
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced that they have driven ISIS out of over 570 square kilometers of land in the province of Raqqa in Northern Syria in their offensive to capture the self-proclaimed capital of the terrorist group.
"During the Raqqa operation codenamed the Euphrates Rage Operation, the SDF has thus far captured over 570 square kilometers of territories from the ISIL terrorists," the SDF said, adding, "In the meantime, engineering unis have defused over 1250 bombs and landmines planted by the ISIL in the region."
The SDF declared the start of the Euphrates Rage Operation to capture ISIL's de facto capital of Raqqa on November 6.
The Kurdish fighters also warned Raqqa residents to stay away from the terrorists and urged all civilians to move to the territories freed from ISIS.
Kurds have announced that at least 30,000 fighters participate in the Raqqa offensive, stressing that Turkey would play no role in the operation.
"Our hope is that the Turkish state will not interfere in the internal affairs of Syria, an SDF official declared at a press conference earlier this month.
The operation comes amid the ongoing assault to liberate another ISIL capital, Mosul, in neighboring Iraq.
The Iraqi Army along with Kurdish and popular forces on October 17 started the offensive to retake the city which fell to the ISIS in 2014.
The SDF that is comprised of mainly Kurdish fighters as well as a few hundred Syrian Arab dissident forces who have received training from the US and have been provided with scanty US-coalition air support in their battles in Raqqa province in Northeastern Syria; but in Northern and Northwestern battlefronts, they have been operating alongside the YPG and received the Russian air backup in their Aleppo wars that started with the conquest of Tishrin Dam on the Euphrates early in February.
Assisted by the Syrian army - that has along with popular forces and Hezbollah conquered almost all militant-held regions in Eastern, Southern, Western and Northwestern Aleppo province - and Russian air support, the Kurdish forces fighting against the terrorists in North-Northeast Aleppo province have been making striking advances against the Fatah al-Sham Front (previously know as Al-Nusra Front), Ahrar al-Sham and ISIL terrorists in February.
In March 2013, Fatah al-Sham terrorists overran the government loyalists in the city in the Battle of Raqqa and declared it under their control after seizing the central square and pulling down the statue of the former president of Syria Hafez al-Assad.
ISIS took full control of Raqqa by 13 January 2014, and proceeded to execute Alawites and suspected supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the city and destroyed the city's Shiite mosques and Christian churches, FNA reported.
Source: Al Alam