Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Syrian opposition forces begin 'great battle' for Raqqa

US-backed forces have launched an offensive to Islamic State's de facto capital, Raqqa.
The group, which claimed responsibility for the attack on Central London that left seven people dead, will face a fierce fight for the Syrian city it has held since 2014.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said an operation to begin liberating the city had already begun, coordinated with a US-led military coalition.

"We declare today the start of the great battle to liberate the city of Raqqa, the so-called capital of terrorism and terrorists," SDF spokesman Talal Sello told reporters in the village of Hazima, north of the city.

"With the international coalition's warplanes and the state-of-the-art weapons they provided to us, we will seize Raqqa from Daesh."

He asked civilians inside the city to keep away from IS positions and from the front lines.

IS has been fortifying the city ahead of the coming assault, setting up barriers and covering the street to hide fighters from aircraft overhead.

Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim responded by threatening to retaliate immediately if the manoeuvre threatened his own country.

SKY   News.