Raqqa battle resumes with new tactics by YPG-led forces
RAQQA, Syria (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdish-Arab alliance forces fighting the Islamic State (IS) in Syria on Sunday confirmed the resumption of fighting in Raqqa city on multiple fronts using new street-fighting strategies.
Speaking to Kurdistan 24, Shadi Arab, an Arab fighter in the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said they had changed their fighting tactics to protect themselves from IS snipers.
“We advance at night and retake many positions every night, and during the day time, we fix our defense points,” he said.
“We do not fight in the day time now because of IS snipers,” Arab said.
Arab explained they intensified fighting and tightened the noose on the remaining IS-held areas of the city.
“[IS] is nearly defeated having nothing to fight with but snipers, suicide bombers, and car bombs, so we advance and fight at night and stop and defend in the day time,” he said.
Another SDF fighter called Ibo gave more details on the ongoing clashes in the city.
He said only 1.5 kilometers (about one mile) is the distance between both fronts on the east and west sides of the city.
The east and west fronts are expected to meet soon and split the remaining IS-held areas in the city into two parts.
“We will meet our comrades soon; those who came from the direction of Kobani [east], and the remaining units of our forces in the middle [south] are also advancing as well,” Ibo said.
In an online statement on Sunday, the SDF said they resumed fighting in Raqqa and liberated seven neighborhoods in the city so far.
“The neighborhoods of Al-Rawda, Old City, Hisham Bin Abdulmalek, Nazlat Shihada, Deriya, Nahdha, and Bareed are liberated by our forces [SDF],” the statement read.
In the south front, north of the city, the SDF said they advanced through several streets, killed three IS militants, and destroyed a car bomb before it reached them.
In Al-Rawda, north of the city, the SDF killed two IS militants and captured two others.
In Nahdha, west of the city, the SDF killed eight militants and captured three others.
The SDF, of which the Kurdish YPG forces are the key component, launched an operation to retake Raqqa nearly two months ago.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Additional reporting by Redwan Bezar, Kurdistan 24 correspondent embedded with the SDF)