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Airstrikes on Raqqa as Syrian Democratic Forces advance in Tabqa - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights announced that fighter jets carried out raids on dawn on Sunday on the city of Raqqa, the stronghold of the ISIS terrorist group.

The strikes coincided with strikes on the al-Jisr al-Jadeed area that connects the city to the southern bank of the Euphrates River.

Clashes between the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are backed by special US forces, and ISIS continued in the city of Tabqa, which is held by the extremists.

The SDF succeeded in achieving advances in the city and it now controls over 60 percent of the Old City. The British-based Observatory said that the forces now hold 40 percent of the city, including more than half of the Old City.

These efforts are part of the Wrath of Euphrates operation that the forces had launched in November 2016. The operation aims to isolate Raqqa from its surrounding countryside ahead of launching the battle for the city.

The capture of Tabqa, which was seized by ISIS in 2014, would represent a strategic gain because it opens the way for the SDF to reach Raqqa, which lies 55 kms to its east. It also holds the largest water dam in the country.

ISIS has resorted to sending booby trapping vehicles to the SDF positions in an attempt to stall their advance.

This is the strategy that the terrorist group adopts when it loses control of areas it had captured, explained the Observatory.

The population of Tabqa was at around 240,000 before the start of the conflict in Syria in 2011. More than 80,000 have however fled the town in wake of the battles.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

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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