Last Update 18:18
Friday, 23 August 2019

US-backed Syrian militia makes gains against Islamic State group

Reuters , Sunday 26 Mar 2017
Syria
A Syrian boy cries as he is being held at a temporary refugee camp in the village of Ain Issa, housing people who fled Islamic State group's Syrian stronghold Raqa, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of the group's de facto capital on March 25, 2017. (AFP)
Share/Bookmark
Views: 1996
Share/Bookmark
Views: 1996

A Kurdish and Arab Syrian militia backed by the United States has captured the town of Karama as it prepares for an assault on the Islamic State group stronghold of Raqqa that it expects to take place in early April, it said on Sunday.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has trapped Raqqa in a shrinking pocket of territory on the northern bank of the Euphrates and has advanced towards it in a multi-pronged offensive over several months.

Dejwar Khabat, a field commander with the SDF, said he expects the assault on Raqqa to begin in early April, affirming a timeline reported by Reuters earlier this month, after the U.S.-backed militia closes the gap on the city on more fronts.

He was answering Reuters questions in a press conference with local reporters in Karama, the last significant town to the east of Raqqa, which lies about 18km (11 miles) away along the Euphrates. Another thrust of the SDF advance has already reached a few kilometres from Raqqa in the northeast.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said the SDF had almost completely captured Karama but that clashes between it and Islamic State were still going on.

To the west of Raqqa, the SDF is aiming to capture the town of Tabqa on the south bank of the Euphrates, along with a nearby dam and airbase after US helicopters helped the militia's fighters establish a bridgehead across the river last week.

Khabat said the SDF has besieged the airbase, but the Observatory said it was still several kilometres away. It was captured by Islamic State at the height of the group's expansion in August 2014 and the militants then killed at least 160 captive soldiers, the Observatory has said.

Islamic State has retreated with increasing pace over recent months in the face of three rival military campaigns against it in Syria. The SDF, backed by a US-led coalition, has pushed Islamic State from the north and northeast.

Syrian rebels fighting under the flag of the Free Syrian Army and backed by Turkey have taken a swathe of territory in the north along the Turkish frontier. And the Syrian army and its allies Russia, Iran and Shia militias, are advancing east of Aleppo and east of Palmyra.

The Syrian army advance east of Aleppo has reached the Euphrates about 55km northwest of Tabqa, but Khabat said he did not think it had sufficient forces to enter the battle for the town.

He added that the SDF would not allow any other military force to enter Raqqa. 

Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.