29 Jun '17, 11pm

U.S. Kurdish allies in final push to encircle Raqqa amid increasing threats from Turkey

WASHINGTON — U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces are in a final push to completely encircle the city of Raqqa — ISIS’ self-proclaimed capital, according to Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve. Bolstered by U.S. air support, the SDF — an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters — have made significant gains over the past several days and now “control all high speed avenues of approach into Raqqa,” Dillon said. Inside the city, Kurdish fighters have reached the northernmost part of the Rafiqa wall — an ancient wall surrounding the old city of Raqqa, built during the Abbasid Caliphate. The rapid advancement of SDF fighters comes as Turkey has ramped up military operations in northern Syria, threatening the Kurdish-controlled district of Afrin, and potentially putting the Raqqa operation in jeopardy. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Right...

Full article: http://www.militarytimes.com/articles/turkey-ypg-mcgurk-r...

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