A US backed coalition of Kurdish fighters in Syria has reportedly launched a major offensive to capture ISIL’s de-facto capital, Raqqa.
An umbrella group of fighters, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, announced the military operation via its official Twitter account.
“#Raqqah Liberation Brigade and the
CJTFOIR</a> forces will accompany <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SDF?src=hash">#SDF</a> during the campaign," Rojda Felat, Democratic <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Syria?src=hash">#Syria</a> Forces Comm.</p>— QSD Press Office (QsdPress) May 24, 2016
The northern Syrian city of Raqqa, located on the Euphrates river, lies to the east of Aleppo. It became ISIL’s main stronghold almost three years ago after its fall to the group in late 2013.
US airstrikes are thought to be assisting around 30,000 Kurdish and Syrian Arab fighters on the ground, though this has not been confirmed or denied by the Pentagon.
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov also indicated on Tuesday that Moscow is ready to co-ordinate with Washington to free the city from ISIL’s grasp.