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Raqqa Battle Anticipating Operation Countdown - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A man sitting in front of debris in northern Aleppo Syria, Reuters

A man sitting in front of debris in northern Aleppo Syria, Reuters

Beirut- Co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) Salih Muslim Muhammad told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that preparations for launching an ISIS exterminating operation in Aleppo has begun.

The ISIS strongholds which will be within operational range are those located in rural areas of eastern Aleppo and in Raqqa city, situated in northern Syria.

PYD co-leader Muhammad said that the political coverage has been provided to launch an attack and look into military preparations.

Preparations of the Kurdish-based PYD forces coincide with U.S.-Russian arrangements-which were recently uncovered by Russian Interfax news agency.

Interfax reported Deputy Director of Russia’s Federal Security Service Oleg Syromolotov saying on Wednesday that Russia and the U.S. are considering palpable cooperation on military operations for liberating Raqqa from ISIS.

PYD measures taken for a military act against the terrorist organization, according to Syromolotov, are also among the topics being studied by the alleged U.S.-Russian future coordination.

“Preparations are finished, we now await aerial shield to be provided by international U.S.-led coalition aircrafts to initiate confrontation,” PYD official Ahmed abu Omar said.

Abu Omar is the commander of “Jaysh al-Thowar” (Army of Rebels), a division within the PYD armed forces,

A Syrian Opposition source close to the nearing operation told Asharq Al-Awsat that the upcoming offensive will not be conducted by a solo military party.

Incoming information indicate, under U.S.-Russian coordination, that each of the Syrian regime forces and the PYD armed divisions will participate in the attack.

PYD factions include both Kurdish and Arab groups.

The source added that regime forces are incapable of handling the operation alone, which in turn renders PYD participation a necessity. The attack zone will be divided; each side will hold operational responsibility of an assigned sector, the source said.

The attack plan involves all ISIS strongholds, which will be struck simultaneously. According to sources, rural eastern Aleppo areas and Palmyra will first be subject to the ISIS termination operation, the second stage will be closing down Raqqa zone for sequential attacks.

The Syrian Opposition source revealed that coordination among regime factions and the PYD – in addition to mission assignment- “will be via U.S. and Russian means aimed at cracking down on the extremist organization.”

“The attack was probably discussed at the Russian and U.S. official’s meeting yesterday. Such topic also includes airstrikes, military supplies and backing operation action forces,” the source added.

PYD sources have been circulating information on the principal ISIS backing route for Raqqa which passes through areas in the rural northwest, and east of Aleppo. Military attack cannot launch before cutting off ISIS supply lines.

“Supplies come in through the course extending from the ISIS stronghold in Jarabulus –located on near Turkish borders- all the way to Manbij, situated in the eastern countryside of Aleppo. The route spreads east through Euphrates river banks into Raqqa,” PYD sources said.

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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