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SDF Controls 3 Dams as Syria Regime Nears Raqqa | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters ride on vehicles in the north of Raqqa city, Syria February 5, 2017. REUTERS/Rodi Said

Beirut, Moscow- The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have captured Al-Baath Dam on the Euphrates River from ISIS, in their advance towards Raqqa city.

The SDF’s latest move raised to three the number of major dams that the alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters controls.

The SDF told Reuters its fighters captured the Baath Dam on Sunday morning, renaming it Freedom Dam. The hydroelectric facility lies 22 kilometers upstream of Raqqa, where ISIS’ operations in Syria are based.

The spokesman for the Kurdish YPG militia, the SDF’s key component, also said that fighters were combing nearby villages for mines and shoring up their defensive lines. “The dam has been completely liberated,” Nouri Mahmoud told Reuters.

The latest development comes as Syrian regime forces seized Maskana, one of the most important towns in the eastern countryside of Aleppo, and which ISIS had controlled in 2014.

The regime forces, backed by al-Nimr (the Tiger) groups and elite forces from Lebanon’s “Hezbollah,” were able on Sunday to reach the administrative border of eastern Aleppo’s countryside, near the province of Raqqa where regime forces were seen at the southwestern strips of the Euphrates Dam.

Meanwhile, Russia, Iran and Turkey, the three guarantors of a ceasefire in Syria failed to reach any agreement concerning the basic details on the borders of a plan to establish “de-escalation zones” in the country as agreed in the latest round of talks in Astana on May 4.

Free Syrian Army Colonel Fateh Hassoun said that no agreement has been reached in some areas where fighting continues.

Hassoun added that the Syrian regime claims controlling some areas abutting rebel-seized territory and says those areas are under the rule of Jabhat al-Nusra.