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Iran Press TV

US-backed Syrian Kurds make gains south of Raqqah against Daesh

Iran Press TV

Tue Aug 1, 2017 3:57PM

A so-called monitoring group says the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) battling to drive Daesh Takfiri terrorists out of Syria's northern city of Raqqah say they have made fresh territorial gains south of the city and established control over a new neighborhood there.

"Overnight, the SDF advanced in the south of the city, after taking control of the Nazlet Shahada neighborhood," Director for Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, said on Tuesday.

He added that US-backed SDF militiamen now control large parts of the adjacent Hisham Bin Abdel Malik neighborhood, after advancing in the south from both the eastern and western fronts.

"Daesh effectively no longer has a presence in the southern neighborhoods of Raqqah, after SDF forces coming from the eastern front met with those advancing from the western front," Abdel Rahman pointed out.

He said the fighting is now centered around the area south of the city center, and on the outskirts of Hisham Bin Abdel Malik district.

"The SDF is a few hundred meters from Daesh's main headquarters in Clock Square, which is where Daesh carried out executions," Abdel Rahman said.

He added that SDF fighters are also on the outskirts of the densely-populated al-Thakana neighborhood.

Nuri Mahmud, a spokesman for the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) that is a major component of the SDF, also stated that US-sponsored militia forces are making progress south of Raqqah.

"Daesh has been almost completely eliminated from the Nazlet Shahada and Hisham Bin Abdel Malik neighborhoods," he added.

Mahmud noted that Daesh is "exploiting civilians and using mines, car bombs, drones, tunnels and bombers to prolong its presence inside Raqqah."

It is estimated that a population of 300,000 civilians are trapped inside Raqqah, including 80,000 displaced from other parts of Syria. Thousands have fled in recent months, and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs believes about 160,000 people remain in the city.

On June 6, the SDF said it had launched an operation aimed at pushing Daesh out of Raqqah.

The city of Raqqah, which lies on the northern bank of the Euphrates River, was overrun by Daesh terrorists in March 2013, and was proclaimed the center for most of the Takfiris' administrative and control tasks the following year.

Turkish officials have frequently voiced strong opposition to the involvement of the Kurdish People's Protection Units in the US-led offensive to retake Raqqah.

Ankara views the YPG as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group, which has been fighting for an autonomous region inside Turkey since 1984.

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