SDF: First phase of Raqqa campaign complete

Rudaw– The first phase of the Raqqa campaign has been completed, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced on Friday. 

In the first phase of the campaign, the SDF “liberated 50 villages and 50 farms, plus they liberated 150 families and killed 150 ISIS gangsters, and liberated 550 square kilometres of territory,” reads an announcement from Simko Derik, a commander of the Wrath of Euphrates operation, posted on the offensive’s Facebook page.

The military operation to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa from ISIS, ousting the extremist group from their de facto capital, was launched on Sunday on two fronts north of the city, from the towns of Saluq and Ayn Issa, by a coalition of forces fighting under the SDF flag.

The offensive began with 9 brigades, including Kurdish forces, Christians, Turkmens, and many Arab brigades from the Raqqa area.

The United States’ aim is to have a “predominantly Arab and Sunni Arab force” retake the city, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford said earlier this week.

The SDF commander Derik said that the force has completed preparation of four training courses for people from Raqqa wanting to join the SDF. These forces will join the campaign in the second phase of the operation to seize the city.

He made his comments in an interview with Runahi channel.