Middle East US-backed forces break into Tabqa, kill scores of IS militants

US-backed forces break into Tabqa, kill scores of IS militants
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters walk with their weapons during an offensive against Islamic State militants in the northern Raqqa Province, Syria, Feb. 8, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Rodi Said)

TABQA, Syria (Kurdistan24) – The US-backed Kurdish-led forces fighting the Islamic State (IS) in Syria on Sunday reported entering the strategic town of Tabqa, west of the group’s stronghold of Raqqa.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance made up of Syrian Kurdish and Arab militias, published a statement on social media declaring the liberation of the Eskandariya neighborhood in western Tabqa.

The SDF fighters entered the town in the early morning, breaching the first district and rescuing dozens of civilians. 

“Our forces [SDF] advanced about 300 meters inside Tabqa and liberated a public school at the entrance of the town,” the statement read.

“Heavy clashes erupted between our forces [SDF] and the [IS] terrorists, and 10 of the terrorists were killed,” the report added.

Clashes continue as SDF fighters liberate the village of Abed on the east side of the town.

Regarding the fighting around Raqqa, an SDF commander who spoke to Kurdistan24 on the condition of anonymity said the village of Misherfa, north of Raqqa, was liberated concurrently with the storming of Tabqa.

“Our forces killed 27 [IS] terrorists,” he noted.

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.

The SDF operation for Raqqa, dubbed “Wrath of the Euphrates,” has progressed steadily.

On Dec. 10, 2016, the SDF started the second phase from the village of Qadiriya in northern Raqqa and approached the Tabqa dam.

On Feb. 4, the SDF announced the launch of the third phase which ended after troops entered Deir al-Zor Province last month.

 

Editing by Gabrielle Renaud and Karzan Sulaivany

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