Middle East VIDEO: US-backed forces besiege Tabqa, control key route

VIDEO: US-backed forces besiege Tabqa, control key route
Fighters of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) with their armored vehicle positioned on the front lines around the Islamic State (IS)-held town of Tabqa, Raqqa Province, Syria, April 11, 2017. (Photo: Kurdistan24)

TABQA, Syria (Kurdistan24) – The Kurdish-led, US-backed Syrian alliance forces on Wednesday announced they had besieged the strategic town of Tabqa, retaking a key route linking Raqqa to the main cities in Syria.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) command published on its social media that they had controlled the main route linking Raqqa and Damascus.

The SDF also reported they managed to secure a corridor for about 400 civilians who fled the areas under the control of the Islamic State (IS).

A banner on a key route the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had controlled, Raqqa Province, Syria, April 12, 2017. (Photo: SDF social media)

Additionally, SDF fighters and commanders told Kurdistan24 they had heavy clashes with IS insurgents around the town of Tabqa, some 60 kilometers (40 miles), west of Raqqa.

The SDF fighters said they killed about 150 IS fighters in the past few days of clashes around the town of Tabqa.

“The situation of IS insurgents in the area has deteriorated miserably,” said Hasan, an SDF fighter.

Hasan further pointed out they would control Tabqa soon because, according to him, IS insurgents were collapsed morally and logistically.

“We [SDF] besieged [IS] from all sides, and they have no exit,” he said.

Moreover, an SDF commander said the IS extremists sent over 20 car bombs in addition to drones carrying explosives to the liberated areas since the SDF had crossed the Euphrates River to Tabqa.

Many fugitives who fled the IS-held areas of Raqqa and Tabqa said hundreds of civilians were detained by IS to be used as human shields.

Shivan, an SDF fighter, told Kurdistan24 IS suicide bombers detonated their car bombs even before reaching their targets.

“The suicide bombers rush to us without awareness. They appear to be brainwashed or under the influence of drugs,” he said.

On March 19, SDF with support from the US-led international coalition conducted a successful air drop to the south of the Euphrates and started controlling the Tabqa area.

So far, the SDF command said they liberated about 200 square kilometers from the Euphrates to the town of Tabqa.

The operation to liberate the town is ongoing, while the SDF also managed to liberate dozens of villages and towns in the past two days.

 

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany

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