SDF Liberates 3200 Square Kilometers Since Start Of Raqqa Operation

SDF Liberates 3200 Square Kilometers Since Start Of Raqqa Operation

 The Wrath of Euphrates Operations Room announced on Monday (January 16) that Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had liberated 3200 square kilometers from Islamic State (ISIS) since the campaign to liberate Raqqa begun.

The second stage of the operation to liberate Raqqa has freed 2480 square kilometers from ISIS control, including 197 villages, and the historic 800-year-old Jabar Castle, a statement from the Operations Room read. While the total area liberated since the operation begun is 3200 square kilometers, including 236 villages.

The SDF announced on November 5 the beginning of operations to regain the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, saying that only 30,000 of its fighters, backed by anti-ISIS coalition countries, will take part in the campaign.

In Monday’s statement, the SDF said 2500 local volunteers had joined the operation since its beginning.

The statement also thanked the international coalition against ISIS for supporting the SDF, and urged citizens of Raqqa to organize themselves to help in the fight against the jihadist group.

“We call on our people in Raqqa to seize the moment and organize themselves in their own region, build up their councils and establish their local administrations to join the Syrian Democratic Forces with all force so all Raqqa province could [sic] be liberated.”

“Our forces have gained significant achievements since the start of [the] Raqqa Liberation Campaign. We will continue the fight against Daesh [ISIS] terrorists, to prosper in liberating Raqqa, and rid all Syrian soil of terror,” the statement added, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.

The SDF – comprised of Kurdish and Arab fighters and backed by the U.S.-led Coalition – has been fighting ISIS in northern Syria and quickly took control of the territory surrounding Manbij in June.