RAQQA, Syria (Kurdistan24) - The US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian alliance forces said on Wednesday they control a strategic base in their multi-phased offensive to retake the city of Raqqa from Islamic State (IS) insurgents.
In Phase 4 of the offensive dubbed Wrath of Euphrates, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters told Kurdistan24 they liberated the strategic village of Kabsh Gharbi, some 25 km (15 miles) northwest of Raqqa.
Hamadi Musa, a commander of Teslim Jimo Brigade, an SDF ally, told Kurdistan24 their forces advanced about 10 kilometers toward Raqqa in the latest phase launched last week.
"We are now in Kabsh Gharbi village, clearing the mines planted by the insurgents, so locals can return to their homes, and peace and stability will prevail," he said.
SDF fighters say as they advance toward Raqqa, IS militants resist using new techniques.
Suleiman Muhi, an SDF fighter said IS militants sent suicide bombers dressed as civilians or dressed as shepherds who ambush the SDF fighters.
"Suicide bombers attack us with cars and motorcycles, and they send drones which throw explosives at us," he said.
On the IS casualties in the clashes occurred in Kabsh Gharbi village, Muhi said about 18 insurgents were killed.
The SDF fight the Islamic State (IS) group on many fronts aiming at tightening the noose around the insurgents in their stronghold of Raqqa.
One separate front is ongoing on the strategic town of Tabqa and three other main fronts on the northern, eastern and western sides of the city.
The SDF launched their multi-phased campaign in November and ultimately aims to drive the insurgents out of Raqqa, the militant group’s de facto Syrian capital.
The most recent phase of their offensive was on April 13, the fourth since the initial launch on Nov. 5, 2016.
Editing by Ava Homa
(Additional reporting by Redwan Bezar, Kurdistan24 correspondent embedded with the SDF)