The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Wednesday made new gains in the fight for Raqqa, pushing further to the Islamic State’s (ISIS) de facto capital.
Backed by US-led coalition’s airstrikes, SDF troops were able to expel ISIS from four villages and some seven farms in the western countryside of Raqqa.
“Subsequent to clashes with ISIS militants, our forces today secured the villages of Erbo, Dehlan, Arir and Henhud, beside seven surrounding farms, west of Raqqa,” an SDF spokesman told ARA News.
The official stressed the role of the coalition’s air cover in facilitating their progress on the ground.
At least 22 ISIS fighters were killed in the clashes, whereas the SDF confirmed the death of six of their soldiers and the injury and several others.
“Today’s progress was a step further in the fight for Raqqa, in the battle to destroy the ISIS’ alleged caliphate,” the SDF spokesman said.
On Sunday, the SDF reported the liberation of 110 villages in the western countryside of Raqqa Governorate since the launch of the second phase of the battle for Raqqa last month.
“Our forces have so far liberated 110 villages in western Raqqa since the launch of the second phase of Euphrates Wrath Operation on December 10,” the SDF leadership said in a statement.
The US-backed forces also reported the death of 277 ISIS jihadists in three weeks of military operations.
“We have also taken 13 ISIS terrorists as captives during the recent clashes,” an SDF officer told ARA News, adding that one ISIS fighter surrendered to the SDF along with his family after deserting the Islamic State in Raqqa.
Supported by an air cover from the US-led coalition, the SDF has so far captured more than 1500 km² in western Raqqa within the second phase of the Euphrates Wrath Operation, that started on December 10. During the first phase of Euphrates Wrath, that was launched on November 6, the SDF captured roughly 560 km² of land in northern Raqqa.
The SDF launched the second phase of the Euphrates Wrath Operation with the objective of securing Raqqa’s western countryside and Tabqa Dam, which bridges the Euphrates River. The long-term objective of Euphrates Wrath is the elimination of the Islamic State in its de facto capital, Raqqa city.