Fighting Between SDF and Islamic State Continues In Raqqa

Fighting Between SDF and Islamic State Continues In Raqqa

 Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) members continued their assault on Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Raqqa in Syria on Friday (August 11).

SDF now has ISIS fighters surrounded in the central part of the city, after U.S.-backed forces linked up in Raqqa's southern districts on Tuesday (August 8), encircling the militants.

The advances in the multi-phased Raqqa offensive are proceeding cautiously, officials say, as Islamic State uses snipers, car bombs and booby traps, and forbids civilians to leave, prolonging the effort to flush the jihadists out.

The SDF, an alliance dominated by the Kurdish YPG and backed by U.S.-led coalition air strikes and Special Forces, have been fighting since June to clear Islamic State from Raqqa city, its de facto Syrian capital. A separate campaign drove the group from its Iraqi stronghold of Mosul last month.

About 2,000 ISIS fighters are estimated to remain in the Syrian city of Raqqa, fighting for their survival in the face of an offensive launched by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in June, a senior U.S. official said on Friday (August 4).

ISIS has retreated over the past 18 months from much of its Syrian territory under attack from three rival forces: the SDF, the Syrian army, and Turkey-backed rebels.