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Operation 'Euphrates Anger' underway in Syria

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By Euronews
Operation 'Euphrates Anger' underway in Syria

<p>A new US-backed Kurdish and Arab offensive is underway aimed at retaking the northern city of Raqqa – <span class="caps">ISIL</span>’s de facto capital in Syria.</p> <p>The military action increases pressure on the militants at a critical moment with its fighters already battling an assault by Iraqi security forces on their remaining Iraqi stronghold in the city of Mosul.</p> <p>The Raqqa campaign was announced by members of the Syria Democratic Forces (<span class="caps">SDF</span>) saying the campaign, called ‘Euphrates Anger’, had started late on Saturday.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">A Kurdish woman announces plan to retake <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Raqqa?src=hash">#Raqqa</a> from <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Isis?src=hash">#Isis</a>. (When Erdogan goes backward, we step forward). <a href="https://t.co/tmebotBqdp">https://t.co/tmebotBqdp</a></p>— Kamal Chomani (@KamalChomani) <a href="https://twitter.com/KamalChomani/status/795315583306858497">November 6, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>The <span class="caps">SDF</span> alliance, which is dominated by the Kurdish Popular Protection Units (<span class="caps">YPG</span>) militia, has emerged as a key ally of the US-led coalition over the past two years, leading the fight against <span class="caps">ISIL</span> on the ground in northern Syria.</p> <p>The inclusion of the <span class="caps">YPG</span> has drawn opposition from Turkey prompting an unannounced visit to Ankara by the US army’s highest-ranking general.</p> <p>The meeting between Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Hulusi Akar, was a sign that Washington and Ankara were in “close contact”, said a US envoy.</p> <p>Turkey views the <span class="caps">YPG</span> as a terror organisation and at the same time objects to the expanding Kurdish influence in its neighbour, Syria. Turkey had said Raqqa would be targeted in its own operation against <span class="caps">ISIL</span> in the region.</p> <p>The people of Raqqa have been under <span class="caps">ISIL</span> control for the last two years. The US was keen to launch an offensive take it back at the same time as the Mosul assault in order to stop <span class="caps">ISIL</span> fighters retreating from Iraq to Syria.</p>