- Title: SDF launch battle to capture Raqqa, Erdogan says U.S. support is mistake
- Date: 6th June 2017
- Summary: AYN ISSA DISTRICT OF RAQQA, SYRIA (JUNE 6, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF MEMBERS OF THE SYRIAN DEMOCRATIC FORCES (SDF) AT A NEWS CONFERENCE ANNOUNCING LAUNCH OF RAQQA BATTLE MORE OF SDF FIGHTERS / SOME HOLDING FLAGS FEMALE AND MALE FIGHTERS GATHERED (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN DEMOCRATIC FORCES SPOKESMAN, TALAL SILO, SAYING: "For more than 7 months, our forces were working to encircle the city of Raqqa through three fronts, the northern, eastern and western fronts. After we were able to isolate the city, our forces are moving through the three fronts to continue its task of liberating the city of Raqqa." FIGHTERS SEEN STANDING IN FRONT OF VARIOUS FLAGS MAN FIXING SDF FLAG (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN DEMOCRATIC FORCES SPOKESMAN, TALAL SILO, SAYING: "Certainly, we received weapons from the United States of America, in accordance with the U.S. President's directives. There is a set program in supplying our forces with these high-tech and advanced weapons to use in the liberating the city of Raqqa." VARIOUS OF SDF MEMBERS GATHERED VARIOUS OF SYRIAN MILITARY GROUPS' FLAGS CARRIED BY FIGHTERS (SOUNDBITE) (Kurdish) SYRIAN DEMOCRATIC FORCES COMMANDER, CLARA RAKA, SAYING: "Raqqa is the capital of Daesh (Islamic State) in Syria, so their preparations for the battle are extensive. Whether through digging tunnels or planting mines or preparing explosive vehicles and suicide bombers, they have prepared well for this battle, both underground and on the ground. We will face these challenges as we are also well-prepared." FIGHTERS GATHERED VARIOUS OF SDF MEMBERS IN THE BACK OF A PICKUP TRUCK VARIOUS OF FIGHTERS CARRYING THEIR WEAPONS MORE OF SDF MEMBERS GATHERED (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN DEMOCRATIC FORCES COMMANDER, LOQMAN AZAD, SAYING: "We have begun a new phase [in our fight] to liberate the city of Raqqa. Our forces have now entered the Mashlab neighbourhood, and we are continuing to advance until this moment. In general our forces are in control of the situation, they are advancing and are well prepared." FIGHTER LOOKING THROUGH A WINDOW FIGHTERS CARRYING RIFLES SDF FIGHTERS IN THE BACK OF A PICK-UP TRUCK FIGHTERS GATHERED VARIOUS OF SDF MEMBERS CARRYING FLAGS VARIOUS OF SDF SOLDIERS GATHERED
- Embargoed: 20th June 2017 23:03
- Keywords: Tayyip Erdogan YPG SDF Raqqa operation United States Turkey Raqqa Syria
- Location: RAQQA, SYRIA
- City: RAQQA, SYRIA
- Country: Syria
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA0016K56FD3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Tuesday (June 6) it had launched an operation to capture Raqqa, Islamic State's de facto Syrian capital, piling pressure on the jihadists whose self-declared caliphate is in retreat across Syria and Iraq.
SDF spokesman Talal Silo said the battle started on Monday (June 5) after the forces were able to isolate the city.
The assault overlaps with the final stages of the U.S.-backed attack to recapture the Iraqi city of Mosul from Islamic State. It follows months of advances to the north, east and west of Raqqa by the SDF, which includes Arab and Kurdish militias.
Islamic State captured Raqqa from rebel groups in 2014 and has used it as an operations base to plan attacks in the West. Silo said the assault had begun from the north, east and west of the city, which is bordered to the south by the River Euphrates.
In an unveiled reference, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Washington will soon realise it's making a vital mistake by carrying out the Raqqa assault with its Kurdish YPG allies.
Speaking at a fast-breaking iftar dinner for foreign ambassadors in Ankara, Erdogan said "those who justify terrorist organisations for the sake of their regional policies by depicting them as militia, instead of taking a decisive stance will soon realize they made a vital mistake."
Turkey views the Kurdish YPG militia within the SDF as a terrorist group aligned with militants who have fought an insurgency in southeast Turkey since 1984.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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