Backing SDF, Coalition Launches 23 Strikes against Isis near Raqqa

Backing SDF, Coalition Launches 23 Strikes against Isis near Raqqa

 U.S.-backed Coalition forces, backing Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the operation to liberate Raqqa, launched 23 airstrikes against Islamic State (ISIS) militants near the militant group’s de facto capital in Syria, Raqqa.

Coalition said in a statement on Sunday (August 6) saying the anti-ISIS Coalition’s warplanes destroyed 19 fighting positions, three improvised explosive devices, a UAS launch site and five of the militants’ buildings near Raqqa on Saturday (August 5).

The SDF launched its U.S.-backed campaign to seize Raqqa in early June. The assault on Raqqa overlapped with the campaign to drive the militants from the Iraqi city of Mosul, where ISIS was defeated last month.

Under the banner of the SDF, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias are fighting to take Raqqa back from ISIS, after they took control of the Syrian city at the beginning of 2014.

The SDF fighters regained control of Kareem neighborhood on Saturday as they continue advancing into Raqqa.

The Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State, Brett McGurk, said about 2,000 ISIS militants are estimated to remain in Raqqa, fighting for their survival in the face of the SDF offensive to liberate Raqqa.

ISIS has been losing territory across northern Syria over the past 18 months to the SDF, Syrian rebels backed by Turkey, and to the Syrian army.