SDF Announces Start of Battle for ISIS Stronghold of Raqqa

Western-backed forces launch offensive on Islamic State-controlled Raqqa in northern Syria as US commits 250 special forces to the operation

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces announced the start of a much anticipated new campaign against the Islamic State in the city of Raqqa, the group’s de facto capital in Syria. According to informed sources, the battle has been named the “campaign to liberate northern Raqqa,” and will be carried out under air cover from international coalition warplanes.

The campaign began at 14:00 local time from three directions: first from the town of Ain Eissa; the second, beginning from Al-Nakheel Restaurant, and the third from Division 93. The three wings will be launching points toward specific prior targets. At the forefront of the campaign’s joint forces will be the Ahrar al-Raqqa brigades and Liwa al-Tahrir, which are Arab militant groups that previously joined the Syrian Democratic Forces.

This announcement comes days after a high-level American official visited the city of Ain Arab and met with SDF leaders to prepare for the start of the battle, in which 250 American special forces will participate, in addition to major air support from the international coalition.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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