SDF fighters in Wrath of Euphrates operation
A press conference was held yesterday in the city of Ain Issa, 50 km away from Raqqa, to officially announce the beginning of the operation ‘Wrath of the Euphrates’. The operation, led by the Syrian Democratic Forces, is to liberate the city of Raqqa in northern Syria from the Islamic State (IS).
Jihan Ahmed, the spokeswoman of the SDF, has warned civilians to steer clear of areas where Islamic State militants are present and called on international forces to provide logistical, military and moral support to the honorable struggle for the liberation of regions under ISIS occupation. The SDF will be aided by the US-led coalition with air strikes.
Who is part of the operation to liberate Raqqa?
According to SDF sources nine armed groups consisted of 30,000 fighters are taking part in the offensive for Raqqa. Nearly 80 % of the fighters are residents from Raqqa which was named the de facto capital of the "caliphate" proclaimed by IS in 2014. The military and revolutionaries groups who are representing Kurds, Arabs, Turkmens and Assyrians and are part of the ‘Wrath of Euphrates’ are the People’s Protection Units (YPG), Women’s Defense Units (YPJ), Liwa Suqur Raqqa, Liwa Tahrir, Liwa Shuhada Raqqa, Katibat Shuhada Hamam al-Turkman, Liwa Ahrar Raqqa, Liwa Thuwwar Tel Abyad and the Syriac Military Council (MFS).
Furthermore the operation has started from two fronts: Suluk and Ain Issa. One of the leading SDF and YPJ commanders, Rojda Felat, highlighted in an interview with the Kurdish news agency Hawar (ANHA) that the Ain Issa front of the SDF have advanced 10 kilometers towards Raqqa, whilst the Suluk front of their forces have made a 11 kilometers advancement since Saturday night.
Felat added: ‘Including the villages of Wahid, Om Safa and the hamlets of Qirtaja, Wasta, Haran and Jera, many villages and hamlets have been liberated. Car bomb attacks against our forces were foiled in this region. ISIS car-bomb attacks on both SDF groups were foiled.’ The SDF is a military alliance which is consisted of Kurds, Arabs, Turkmens and Assyrians and was established in October 2015. Since their establishment SDF has successfully driven out IS from important strategic areas such as al-Hawl, Shaddadi, Thishrin Dam and Manbij.
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