US-backed Syrian fighters seize parts of Isis 'capital' Raqqa

Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said they captured neighbourhood of Romaniah after two days of fighting

Sunday 11 June 2017 17:18
Comments
Smoke rises from buildings in the al-Meshleb neighbourhood of Raqa as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up of an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, try to advance further into the Islamic State (IS) group's Syrian bastion
Smoke rises from buildings in the al-Meshleb neighbourhood of Raqa as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up of an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, try to advance further into the Islamic State (IS) group's Syrian bastion

A US-backed Syrian opposition force said it has captured a northwestern neighbourhood of the Isis de-facto capital of Raqqa - the second district to fall in their hands in days after the group launched a wide offensive to gain control of the city.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said its fighters captured the neighbourhood of Romaniah after two days of fighting that left 12 Isis gunmen dead, including a commander known as Abu Khattab al-Tunsi.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said SDF fighters now control Romaniah and the eastern neighbourhood of Mashlab.

The fighters have also entered Raqqa's western neighborhood of Sabahiya and the industrial district in the east.

Raqqa was among the first cities captured by Isis in January 2014, and has been the home of some of the group's most prominent leaders. The battle for the city is expected to be extended and bloody, and could mark a major turning point in the war against the extremists.

Isis has been fortifying its positions in Raqqa for months, setting up barriers and hanging sheets of cloth over main streets to provide cover from warplanes. A belt of land mines and militant checkpoints circle the city.

SDF fighters began their offensive on the city of Raqqa on 6 June under the cover of airstrikes by the US-led coalition.

The Isis-linked Amaq news agency said the city was subjected to intense airstrikes and shelling by the SDF and the US-led coalition, releasing a video that showed widespread destruction in one of the neighbourhoods.

The video also showed severely wounded men and children being rushed to hospitals.

In southern Syria, Jordan said its border guards have killed five suspected infiltrators approaching the kingdom's border from Syria in a pickup truck and two motorcycles.

The military said in a statement that the incident took place near the spot where Jordan, Syria and Iraq meet.

Jordan has been on alert for possible infiltrations by Isis extremists who seized territories in Syria and Iraq in 2014. In recent months, Jordan expressed concern that US-backed offensives against Isis will push some of the militants closer to the kingdom's border.

The army said nine vehicles approached Jordan from Syria in the past three days, and border guards opened fire to hold them back. The army says that in the latest incident, troops fired on a pickup truck and two motorcycles, killing five.

AP

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in