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US-backed forces encircle ISIS west of Deir Ezzor

(Zaman Al Wasl)- Spokesperson of the Syrian Elite Forces, said their forces and its allies the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) took control of the area close to the archaeological Zalbiyet site along the Euphrates River after confrontations with the Islamic State in Deir Ez Zor western countryside. 

Mohamed Al-Shaker said the forces surrounded the town of Jazzret al-Milaj in Deir Ez Zor’s western countryside with International Coalition air support.

In a statement to Zaman al-Wasl on Tuesday, al-Shaker said that the Elite Forces are in the al-Mankhir Mountain in al-Raqqah that faces al-Karmah which is three kilometers from the Euphrates River. He pointed out that they took control of the villages of Abu Souset, Mashrfieh, al-Aboudiyet, Abu Kibreh, and Maayizilet in al-Raqqah eastern countryside before.
According to al-Shaker, the third phase of the Wrath of the Euphrates operation aims at isolating al-Raqqah from Deir Ez Zor and cutting off the supply lines. The operation is a preliminary stage for the operation to take control of the cities to begin. The forces are now focused on taking control of the strategic supply lines between the two provinces.

Al-Shaker added that the Deir Ez Zor Council subordinate to the Syrian Democratic Forces militia does not affect the coordination between the Elite Forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces. The two forces are allies and coordinate within the framework of the operations, but in the end, they are under the command of the International Coalition and its supervision.

He pointed out that the Elite Forces are formed of the sons of the tribes of Deir Ez Zor, al-Raqqah, and al-Hasakah. The Forces have their particularity in Deir Ez Zor as they are considered the elite forces of the Free Syrian Army. The Islamic State Forces committed the worst atrocities against them, their families and villages, so the forces have a national outlook and popular support which makes them more acceptable to the Arab elements in the area.

The Syrian Democratic Forces resumed its military campaign against the Islamic State forces with International Coalition support on Sunday. The campaign began again with intense aerial bombardment on al-Raqqah and its countryside.

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