SDF Advances to Within 11KM of Raqqa, Facing Stiff Resistance

SULAIMANI – Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters on Wednesday (February 8) advanced to within 11km of the Islamic State (ISIS) controlled city of Raqqa.

The SDF inched closer to ISIS-held Raqqa on Wednesday, having advanced to two strategic hilltops that lie just 11km away from the city on its northern side, according to the Kurdish Hawar News Agency.

On February 4, the SDF launched the third phase of the Operation Wrath of Euphrates to liberate Raqqa from ISIS occupation with the aim of encircling the entire city.

With the SDF closing in on the city, fierce clashes have broken out north of Raqqa as ISIS militants look to stem the advance.

On Wednesday morning (February 8), ISIS launched attacks on the town of Sweidiyah, as well as the villages of Hemmerin, and al-Wedyan, Hawar News Agency reported. The areas, northeast of Tabqa Dam, were liberated during the second phase of the Operation Wrath of Euphrates.

The SDF, a coalition of Kurdish and Arab fighters that have been successfully fighting ISIS in northern Syria, have been steadily moving in on the jihadist group’s de facto Syrian capital, Raqqa, for the past three months.

The SDF, backed by Coalition forces, have liberated over 3,500 square kilometers from ISIS since the operation began to isolate the ISIS-stronghold on November 5 last year.

Image: REUTERS/Rodi Said

Article: NRT English