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Coalition Forces in Direct Confrontation with ISIS Militants in Raqqa Countryside | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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ISIS militant uses a mobile to film his fellow militants taking part in a military parade along the streets of Syria’s northern Raqqa. Reuters

Beirut- A Kurdish leader said the international coalition, whose mission was to provide logistic and advisory support to the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), has been fighting face to face against ISIS with Kurdish People’s Protection Units militia (YPG).

The leader noted that U.S. and European soldiers are also fighting ISIS militants in the field.

Adviser to the SDF general command Nasser Mansour told Asharq Al-Awsat that U.S. soldiers and others affiliated with the international coalition are fighting ISIS for the first time in the battlefield.

Mansour said that in previous battles there used to be advisors and commanders in the operations room in addition to foreigners who fight under the banner of YPG.

However, since the beginning of the Raqqa battle, soldiers working for the coalition have started fighting ISIS on land, noting that the American who died in a landmine explosion in Tal al-Samn was a soldier in the U.S. army, added Mansour.

Washington announced on Friday the death of the first American soldier in Syria, precisely in the vicinity of Ayn Issa in northern Raqqa by an improvised explosive device.

“The entire counter-ISIS coalition sends its condolences to this hero’s, family, friends and teammates,” said Lt. Gen Stephen Townsend, the commander of the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

However, Director of Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) Rami Abdel Rahman told Asharq Al-Awsat that two other American soldiers were killed earlier in June in Syria although Washington claimed this was the first casualty for U.S. forces in the country’s fighting.

According to several reports, “massive quantities of mines,” planted by the extremist organization in villages its militants withdrew or were expelled from in Raqqa, are hindering the movement of Kurdish fighters.

Kurds expressed their fear that the campaign launched on November 5 to fight ISIS in Raqqa with the support of the U.S.-led coalition will take much more time than expected to achieve its target.