Syria’s Kurdish-led SDF launches operation northern Raqqa

Kurdish-led, US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched a new operation targeting the northern areas of the Islamic State's de facto Syrian capital of Raqqa, northern Syria.
author_image Hisham Arafat

KOBANI, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan24) – On Tuesday, the general command of the Kurdish-led, US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched a new operation targeting the northern areas of the Islamic State's de facto Syrian capital of Raqqa.

In a military base in the Kurdish-held town of Ain Issa, north of Raqqa, Rojda Felat an SDF senior commander announced in a press conference that the campaign is targeting only the northern countryside of the city.

“With the support of the US-led coalition airstrikes, our forces will liberate the northern areas of Raqqa in our operation that started at 2pm [07:00 a.m. EDT] today [on Tuesday],” she said.

Speaking to Kurdistan24, Saleh Muslim, the co-leader of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), said on Tuesday liberating the northern areas of Raqqa and then liberating Raqqa are urgent necessities not only for Kurds, but also for all components of the country.

“It’s an urgent need that our allies [Arabs, Turkmen, Christians] help us in liberating Raqqa because all the car bombs and suicide attacks that hit the Kurdish regions and the other regions of Syria are prepared in Raqqa,” he said.

“We have to cut the head of the snake, not the tail,” he added.

Additionally, Talal Silo, the SDF leader and spokesperson, told Reuters that the operation is aimed at liberating north of Raqqa, not the city.

 

SYRIAN DEMOCRATIC COUNCIL (SDC) & SYRIAN DEMOCRATIC FORCES (SDF)

The Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), which groups Kurds, Arabs and others, was formed in December 2015 at a conference in northeastern Syria with the stated aim of promoting a secular, democratic vision for the country.

The SDC adopted an already established military force called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who are fighting against the Islamic State (IS) north of Syria. The SDF, founded in October 2015, unites Arab, Turkmen and Armenian militias, as well as Free Syrian Army (FSA) units.

The SDF liberated several IS strongholds in north and northeast Syria. The first was the liberation of Al-Hawl south of Hasakah in November 2015, and then in the south of Kobani 50 villages were liberated. IS was also pushed out of Tishrin Dam on Dec. 26, 2015.

On Feb. 10, SDF announced the control of Mengh and its military airport, north of Aleppo, Syria.

On Feb. 16, SDF launched a three-day military offensive titled “Wrath of Khabour” which ended in al-Shaddadi's liberation on Feb. 19.

Although mainstream media presents SDF as an inclusive force, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) is the primary element of the coalition and outnumbers all other groups.

 

Reporting by Hisham Arafat

Editing by Ava Homa