Syria: ISIS Declares State of Emergency in Raqqa
Reports about advances of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) North of Raqqa have caused the ISIS leaders to declare a state of emergency in the capital of their self-proclaimed Caliphate, informed sources said Monday.
"Simultaneous with the start of the liberation operation of Raqqa by the SDF, ISIS (ISIL, IS, Daesh) terrorists have dug tranches around the city of Raqqa and have filled them with crude oil.
The ISIL has a plan to set fire at oil-filled tranches in case of SDF's advances towards the city," the sources said.
"Meantime, thick smoke spiralling from fire set by the ISIL near Raqqa has reduced visibility for air reconnaissance missions over ISIL's base," they added.
The ISIL used the same tactics against Iraqi government troops in the Mosul operation, delaying the Iraqi forces' aerial operation, the sources went on to say.
"ISIL has also dispatched a large division of its forces to the town of al-Hished North of Raqqa to confront the Kurdish forces," they pointed out.
On Sunday, the SDF pushed ISIL terrorists back from a village and an area 10km in depth on the very first day of their Raqqa operation.
"The SDF started its offensive on ISIL positions from two flanks near the towns of Solouk and Ein Issa.
The Kurdish fighters advanced nine kilometers from Solouk direction and 10 kilometers from Ein Issa's direction," Kurdish sources said Sunday afternoon.
"The SDF, in Ein Issa and Solouk offensives, beat ISIL back from the village of al-Wahid, five farms and a small but strategic base near the village of Laqteh," the sources aid.
"ISIL's military vehicles also sustained major damage in the attacks," the sources went on to say.
Also on Sunday, the SDF declared the start of military operation to capture ISIL's de facto capital of Raqqa.
The start of the 'Angry Euphrates Operation' was declared on Sunday by Kurdish commanders in a press conference in the Syrian town of Ein Issa, North of the ISIL bastion.
The SDF said the US would coordinate with the Kurdish fighters to provide air cover during the Raqqa operation.
"The major battle to liberate Raqqa and its countryside has begun," a Kurdish commander said, adding that "The ground operation in Raqqa would be carried out only by the Syrian Democratic Forces".
Kurdish forces also warned Raqqa residents to stay away from the terrorists and urged all civilians to move to the territories liberated from ISIL.
Meanwhile, Kurdish forces 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 the press conference.
The operation comes amid the ongoing operation to liberate another ISIL capital, the Iraqi city of Mosul.
The Iraqi Army along with Kurdish and popular forces on October 17 started the offensive to retake the city which fell to the ISIL 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 Al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham and ISIL terrorists in February.
Source: Al Alam