As the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) surge forward in their campaign to liberate the city of Raqqa, they have recently been able to take control of ISIS’ major arms centre in the city and have left several ISIS militants dead as a results of the fighting. The attack is said to have killed 35 of the terrorist group’s militants.
Clashes between the SDF and ISIS are continuing as the international coalition supports the former with air cover as they enter the Old City, which poses significant difficulties due to its complex geography and the presence of civilians held captive by ISIS. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) spokesperson, Andrej Mahecic, reports that “between 30,000 and 50,000 people remain trapped in Raqqa city”. This significant number of people trapped in the city is slowing down the advance of the SDF considerably.
The coalition has stressed that some of tactics employed against ISIS have had to be adjusted in order to match the realities in the city, and have not dramatically shifted as several media reports had previously claimed.
The SDF have announced that their fighters have managed to enter the Nazlah Shehada District in Raqqa’s southwest and have captured the New Bridge, the Jist Street and the Qadid Roundabout.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights recently reported that the SDF has retaken approximately 35% of the city of Raqqa.
The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), on the other hand, has managed to take control of a number of oil fields situated to the south-west of the province of Raqqa: Wahab, Fahd, Debisan, Qusayr, Abu Qutat and Abu Qatash. Several villages in that vicinity have also been captured by the SAA.
The final phase of the battle of Raqqa was launched by the SDF on 6 June. Both the SDF and SAA have made significant gains against ISIS since and the influence of the terrorist group in its self-proclaimed “capital in Syria” continues to wane.