BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

U.S.-backed militias in final push against IS in Raqqa

Now Reading:

U.S.-backed militias in final push against IS in Raqqa

Text size Aa Aa

RAQQA, Syria/BEIRUT (Reuters) – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) expect to wrest control of Raqqa, the last major Syrian city held by Islamic State, from the militants by the end of Monday, an SDF field commander said. The U.S.-led coalition backing the alliance said, however, it could not give a timeline for the battle. The field commander said the SDF was carrying out “clearing operations” against Islamic State. A political leader in the SDF, Ilham Ahmed, also said on Monday that she expected the end of the campaign against Islamic State in Raqqa to be announced in “hours or days”. U.S.-led coalition spokesman Ryan Dillon said he could not put a timeline on the operation. The coalition is supporting the SDF on the ground with intelligence, air strikes and combat advisors. “We have conducted some strikes in the last 24 hours, but I suspect that that will pick up here very soon with the SDF advancing into the final remaining areas of the city,” Dillon said. The SDF assault, launched on Sunday, is targeting the “no more than 200-300” foreign militants remaining in the city, SDF spokesman Talal Selo said on Sunday. Raqqa was the first big Syrian city that IS seized when it rampaged through Syria and Iraq and declared a caliphate in 2014. Raqqa became an operations centre for attacks abroad and the stage for some of its bloodiest attacks The SDF has been trying to take the city from Islamic State since June. Dillon said about 3,500 civilians had left the Islamic State-held parts of the city in the past week. A convoy of Islamic State militants and their families left the city on Sunday in an evacuation deal brokered with tribal elders. IS militants in return allowed safe passage out of the city for civilians trapped in Raqqa. Asked if the U.S.-led coalition will target the convoy of IS-fighters and families, Dillon said: “We’re not going to strike a convoy that has a multitude of family members or civilians on it”.

(Reporting by Rodi Said, Sarah Dadouch and Ellen Francis; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
euronews provides breaking news articles from reuters as a service to its readers, but does not edit the articles it publishes. Articles appear on euronews.com for a limited time.