Official: SDF Secured 14 Neighborhoods in Raqqa
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) backed by U.S.-led Coalition forces have secured 14 neighborhoods in Raqqa from Islamic State (ISIS) militants, the group’s official said.
Head of SDF Press Media, Mustafa Bali, said on Friday (September 8) that clashes continue between SDF fighters and ISIS militants in six neighborhoods of Raqqa.
“[SDF] fighters have liberated 14 neighborhoods out of 22. ISIS only has 35 percent of the city under its control. However, clashes continue in most of those areas,” Bali added.
Bali further said fighting has yet to reach two neighborhoods under the control of the Islamic State.
“We believe there are about 1,000 ISIS militants in the city,” he added. “Those fighters have experiences of fighting.”
SDF fighters have regained control of a number of government’s buildings, which ISIS used as its headquarters, in the past few days, he noted.
The SDF, an alliance dominated by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and backed by U.S.-led coalition air strikes and Special Forces, have been fighting since June to clear ISIS from Raqqa city.
Advances in the multi-phased Raqqa offensive are proceeding cautiously however, officials say, as ISIS uses snipers, car bombs and booby traps. ISIS also forbids civilians from leaving the area, prolonging the effort to flush the jihadists out.