SULUK, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan24) - The Kurdish-led, US-backed alliance announced on Thursday they liberated dozens of villages and farms in the first four days of a new phase of an offensive to retake the city of Raqqa from Islamic State (IS) insurgents.
Speaking to Kurdistan24, Jihan Sheikh Ahmad, the spokesperson of the Raqqa offensive, dubbed the “Wrath of Euphrates," said their forces liberated about nine villages from IS.
"The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched the new phase from two axes: Suluk base in north to Raqqa and Makmana base in east to the city," she said.
Kurdistan24 correspondent embedded with the SDF reported on Friday that about fifteen villages and farms were liberated from the Islamic State so far.
Additionally, SDF statement reported that dozens of IS insurgents were killed, including 18 bodies taken by the SDF.
On the estimated time to retake Raqqa, a spokesperson for the US-led coalition against IS said on Wednesday the city would be liberated in a few weeks.
"Within the next few weeks the city [of Raqqa] will be surrendered, and then there will be a decision to move in," said the US Army Colonel and Spokesperson for the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTFOIR) John L. Dorrian.
The third phase of the Raqqa offensive targeting areas to the east of the city resumed last week with more support by the US-led international coalition.
"We got eight improved armored vehicles, and this is a sign of more support by the new US administration," the SDF spokesperson Talal Silo told Kurdistan24 last week.
The first phase of Raqqa operation targeting areas north of the city was launched in November 2016.
The second phase targeting areas to the west of the city resumed in December and still ongoing to capture the IS-held Euphrates dam.
Editing by Ava Homa
(Additional reporting by Ekrem Salih, Kurdistan24 correspondent embedded with the SDF)