Established by Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud 2005 - Homs

Kurdish-led forces take strategic village from ISIS west of Raqqa

Local | 2017-01-01 20:07:01
Kurdish-led forces take strategic village from ISIS west of Raqqa
   Village of al-Mahmoudelly
(Zaman Al Wasl)- Kurdish-led Syria Democratic Forces on Sunday captured strategic town after fierce fighting with ISIS in the western countryside of Raqqa city, the U.S.-backed militia said.

Capture of the village of al-Mahmoudelly will push SDF further to encircle al-Raqqa city , the de facto capital of the extremist group's self-declared caliphate, as the northern countryside is also on fire near Euphrates dam.

The SDF, a coalition of Kurdish and Arab fighters, has been on the offensive in Raqqa province since early November, advancing with the aid of U.S.-led airstrikes. The operation is aimed at encircling and eventually retaking Raqqa.

The city is home to nearly 200,000 mostly Sunni Arabs and an estimated 5,000 ISIS fighters.

"The ongoing operation is the second phase west of Raqqa," Tlal Sillo, a spokesman for SDF  said, adding that the first phase was north of the city. "More phases will come later to isolate the city and then to begin liberating it."

On the northern front of Raqqa, clashes keep ongoing near Ja'bar village, activist Joud Khalil said.

SDF fighters, with the support of U.S., French and British special forces, have driven ISIS from dozens of villages and farms in recent days and are now about 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the Dam.

 The capture of the dam, which controls the flow of water to parts of Syria and neighboring Iraq, would deal a major blow to the extremist group, which has held the facility for more than two years. Behind the dam lies Lake Assad, which at 640 square kilometers (247 square miles), is Syria's largest reservoir. (With agencies)

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