Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting in Wrath of Euphrates operation are attempting to encircle ISIS in one of the terrorist group’s strongholds near Raqqa in Syria.
According to reports, ISIS is putting up a strong resistance against SDF advances, launching attacks in Shanat, Ayuj, Jada, Muhmudli and Jurniyah on Wednesday.
ISIS has adopted a tactic of planting mines upon withdrawing from villages which has proved problematic for the SDF. “The obstacle in our progression is the mines, you can see the area where mines are planted,” said an SDF fighter. “This is the one thing that has stopped us.” SDF soldiers have also had to contend with ISIS tunnels in villages around Raqqa city.
Another SDF soldier described the terrorist group’s increasingly desperate methods of targeting the SDF: “They came towards us with explosives and bombs, and blew themselves, the bombs and the Tal al-Saman bridge up.” ISIS militants are also using human shields to prevent further attacks.
ISIS has caused severe suffering for civilians under its control who have been subjected to harsh and violent treatment by ISIS militants. Men are forced to grow their beards, and many have been prevented from leaving their villages to visit relatives outside of Raqqa Province.