Sunday, 11 June 2017

US-backed forces seize second Raqqa district from Islamic State

US-backed forces have seized a western district of Raqqa, Islamic State's stronghold in Syria, following two days of fighting.
In a statement, Syrian Democratic Forces said their fighters had "liberated the neighbourhood of al Romaniya on the western front of Raqqa, after two days of continued clashes".

It follows the capture of an eastern part of the city two days ago.

Islamic State has held Raqqa since 2014 - and the city is considered the group's 'capital'.

The fighting - backed by bombing from the US-led coalition - left at least 12 IS jihadists dead in al Romaniya, the SDF said.

The alliance captured the eastern neighbourhood of al Mishlab within a day of first entering Raqqa.

The SDF, a group of Kurdish and Arab militias supported aerially from allies including the UK, spent seven months surrounding the city before finally entering it last Tuesday.
The coalition believes the city in central northern Syria is defended by 3,000 to 4,000 jihadists.

Fighters from the US-backed alliance, meanwhile, continued to battle to dislodge jihadists from a key military base north of Raqqa.

The SDF launched a renewed attack on Division 17 - a former Syrian army base - overnight with backing from the US-led coalition, a monitoring group said.

A spokesman for the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said: "Blasts could be heard throughout the night because of the exchange of fire between the two sides."

Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said IS have "heavily fortified" the base in preparation for any attempt by the SDF to capture it.

SKY      News.