Battle to drive IS from Syria bastion Raqa nears stop

KOBANE, Syria: US-backed fighters say they are nearing the “last 7 days” of their assault to drive the Islamic Point out team from their a single-time Syrian bastion Raqa, as the militants’ self-explained caliphate crumbles.

Getting rid of Raqa would be only the latest in a sequence of crushing defeats for the extremist team, which at the time managed substantial swathes of territory spanning the border amongst Syria and Iraq.

Captured by IS in 2014, the northern town was the de facto Syrian money of the militants’ self-styled “caliphate” until the US-backed assault by the Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters.

The US-backed fighters have captured all around ninety for every cent of Raqa considering the fact that moving into the town in June, right after months of combating to encircle it.

They are now advancing on IS-held districts from two fronts in the city’s north and east, claimed commander Rojda Felat, who heads the “Wrath of the Euphrates” campaign.

“If the two fronts fulfill, we can say we have entered the last 7 days of our campaign to liberate Raqa,” Felat advised AFP on the western outskirts of Raqa on Sunday.

“In just three to four days, we will be ready to consider the decision to get started the last campaign,” she added.

Felat claimed combating was even now intense along the front line, with IS employing snipers, suicide bombers and bolstered positions in tunnels to keep up the SDF advance.


The militants even now keep Raqa’s nationwide medical center, the close by football stadium and encompassing household neighbourhoods, which includes the notorious Al-Naim roundabout, where IS staged general public beheadings and crucifixions.

An unexploded car or truck bomb is found in Raqa right after its driver was shot by users of the Syrian Democratic Forces on Oct 8, 2017. (Picture: AFP/Bulent Kilic)

SDF fighters have surrounded the medical center and have been on Sunday getting ready a fresh push to seize the stadium before shifting to Al-Naim, claimed Ali Sher, a subject commander with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which make up the bulk of the SDF.

“Then, there will only be the medical center left. At that place, we will call out to them to surrender and if they do not comply with these orders, we will have to split down the limitations and enter the medical center,” Sher advised AFP.

IS is thought to be holding civilians as human shields in the medical center, complicating initiatives to capture the place.

Colonel Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the US-led coalition backing the SDF’s assault, claimed IS was employing the medical center as a military foundation and it was “closely fortified”.

He claimed coalition special forces advisors could accompany the SDF in a push for the facility but there would not be “entire, tactical, coalition units assaulting the medical center”.

Tens of thousands of civilians have fled Raqa town and the encompassing location considering the fact that the SDF began its offensive, but many some others have remained trapped inside of for the duration of the large combating.

Laila, 32, escaped on Sunday from a making in the vicinity of the stadium. A mother-of-three, and expecting with her fourth kid, she feared her lacking husband had been killed in shelling.


“These who have been even now alive have been screaming underneath the rubble but no a single dared pull them out since there was so a great deal shelling,” she claimed. “We lived for three months in the toilet. My son saved telling me, ‘I just want to see the solar, I just want to see the solar.’ These days he saw it for the very first time.”

The loss of Raqa town would go away IS with just a handful of positions in Syria and Iraq.

The team was forced from Iraq’s Mosul in July and very last 7 days was pushed from Hawija, which means it holds just a sliver of territory in the Euphrates Valley in the vicinity of the Syrian border.

The SDF has previously begun a new campaign from the militants to retake territory they keep in the japanese province of Deir Ezzor, which neighbours Raqa and sits on the border with Iraq.

They are combating on the japanese side of the Euphrates River that slices diagonally throughout Deir Ezzor.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces say they are nearing the “last 7 days” of their assault to drive the Islamic Point out team from Syria’s Raqa. (Picture: AFP/Bulent Kilic)

Syria’s army is combating a independent Russian-backed campaign mainly on the western lender of the river, and very last thirty day period broke an IS siege of almost three yrs on sections of Deir Ezzor town.

Professional-Turkey Syrian rebels are also getting ready for an procedure to oust militants from the northwestern province of Idlib.

On Monday, Turkey’s army claimed it had launched a reconnaissance mission in Idlib days right after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced an incursion to oust Al-Qaeda’s previous Syrian affiliate from the location.

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