Sunday, June 4, 2017

US-Backed Militants Take Control of Syria's 3rd largest Dam as Kurds Allow ISIL to Withdraw from Raqqa

Fars News Agency | Jun 4, 2017

TEHRAN (FNA)- The predominately Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued the fourth phase of their Euphrates Rage Operation in Raqqa province and managed to take control of al-Ba'ath dam, the third largest water reservoir in the country.

The SDF forces in a statement said that they have taken full control of al-Ba'ath dam after capturing al-Mansourah region the Western part of Raqqa province.

Meanwhile, the US-backed Kurdish forces in Syria announced that the military operations to liberate Raqqah from ISIL will begin in the next few days.

"Our forces have now deployed the outskirts of the city, and the major operation will start in the coming few days," YPG Spokesman Nouri Mahmoud said on Saturday.

"The battle will not be easy…Of course Daesh (ISIL) has tunnels, mines, car bombs, suicide bombers, and at the same time it is using civilians as human shields," Mahmoud added.

Meanwhile, a representative of the Syrian Democratic Forces, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the forces have received a batch of heavy weapons and armored vehicles from the US.

He further added that in a few days they expect new supplies of weapons from the US.
It is the fourth consignment of weapons sent to Syrian Kurds since President Donald Trump announced the decision to assist the Kurdish forces in Syria.

Arab media outlets disclosed on Saturday that ISIL has started withdrawing troops from West of Raqqa province following an agreement with the US-backed Kurdish forces.

According to reports, the SDF forces have held talks with the ISIL to encourage the militants to withdraw from Sad al-Rashid area as well as the towns of al-Mansourah and Hanidah in Western Raqqa without any resistance, and move towards Syria's Badiyeh (desert).

Reports indicated that Washington prefers to occupy Raqqa immediately without major casualties on the US-backed forces. Also, if the ISIL leaves Raqqa without any clashes, the US will not need the SDF to occupy the city and the territories can be filled with other terrorist groups which are called by the US as moderate militants.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced in a statement on Thursday that the ISIL militants continue to cross the Euphrates River in Syria from their stronghold of Raqqa despite being encircled by Kurdish and US-led coalition forces.

"At the same time, the SDF stopped its offensive, resulting in ruptures in the ISIL's ring of encirclement. Using this, the terrorists cross the Euphrates and seek to transfer their formations in the southern direction of Syria," it said.

"The command of the Russian grouping of forces in the Syrian Arab Republic will continue to take all necessary measures to prevent the breakthrough of the ISIL units from Raqqa to the provinces of Homs and Hama," it added.

According to Moscow, Russia’s Aerospace Forces thwarted two attempts by ISIL to break through to Palmyra from Raqqa in the past week.

"The first convoy of terrorists from Raqqa heading to Palmyra was destroyed by the Russian Aerospace Forces on May 25. ISIL militants made another attempt to break through to the Palmyra area on the night of May 29 to 30. Three motorcades left Raqqa under the cover of darkness and took several routes southward," the ministry said in a statement.

"The Russian Aerospace Forces hit the detected targets. The ISIL lost more than 80 terrorists, 36 cars, eight fuel trucks and 17 pickup trucks equipped with mortars and large-caliber machine guns," the ministry added.

The SDF started military Operations codenamed 'Euphrates Rage' to liberate Raqqa from the ISIL hands in November 2016.


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