US-backed forces capture half of Syria's Raqqah
Iran Press TV
Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:2PM
The so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed group of mostly Kurdish forces, says it has wrested control over half of the Syrian city of Raqqah, the de facto capital of the Daesh terrorist group in the Arab country.
Mustafa Bali, the director of the SDF media center, announced on Thursday that the group currently holds half of Raqqah.
The neighborhoods of Nazlet Shehadeh and Panorama Square, both situated in Raqqah's southwest, were the most important areas liberated over the days, he added.
The official, however, noted that due to Daesh counterattacks, sleeper cells and tunnels, the SDF advance "was not easy, we have casualties and martyrs."
Additionally, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that the SDF was now in control of half of Raqqah.
The London-based monitoring group also said that 29 people, including eight children, lost their lives in US airstrikes on the city on Wednesday.
Daesh captured Raqqah in July 2014 and declared the city its stronghold in Syria. The SDF launched its assault on Raqqah on June 6.
Nazreen Abdullah, of the Kurdish Women's Protection Units, the all-female brigade of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), told The Associated Press that the pace of the Raqqah operation had slowed because of massive amounts of explosives laid by Daesh militants.
The Takfiri elements have stepped up their attacks against the SDF as they become more surrounded, she pointed out.
"Raqqah has become a booby trapped city and this shows their (Daesh) weakness," Abdullah said. "They are also using civilians as human shields and this is slowing the push as well."
The SDF, which includes the YPJ, has fully captured eight neighborhoods since the beginning of the Raqqah operation, she concluded.
Clashes in Hama
Separately on Thursday, Syrian army soldiers clashed with terrorists in the west-central Hama Province and killed a number of them.
A military source told Syria's official SANA news agency that Syrian troops had foiled an infiltration attempt by Daesh-affiliated militants into Hama's eastern countryside, killing all terrorists, and seizing their arms and equipment.
According to SANA, a Syrian army unit engaged in violent clashes with members of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, who attacked military posts in Hama's southeastern countryside.
Over the past few months, Syrian forces have made sweeping gains against Takfiri elements who have lately increased their acts of violence across the country following a series of defeats on the ground.
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