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'Tightening the Noose': Syrian Democratic Forces Now Control Areas Around Raqqa

© REUTERS / Rodi Said A Syrian Democratic Forces(SDF) fighter poses for a picture near Euphrates River, north of Raqqa city, Syria March 8, 2017
A Syrian Democratic Forces(SDF) fighter poses for a picture near Euphrates River, north of Raqqa city, Syria March 8, 2017 - Sputnik International
The Syrian Democratic Forces' troops have gained complete control of areas surrounding the "capital" of Daesh.

DAMASCUS (Sputnik) — The units of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have gained full control of areas surrounding the Daesh jihadist group's (IS, banned in Russia) stronghold of Raqqa in northern Syria, an SDF operation spokeswoman said Thursday.

"Our forces have tightened the noose on Raqqa," Jihane Sheikh Ahmad told the Al-Monitor online daily. "Within a short period, we took complete control of Raqqa’s countryside and liberated hundreds of villages and strategic hills."

She said the SDF and its Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) military wing reached the Euphrates from the east and Euphrates Dam from the northwest.

"We have advanced thanks to the increasing air support and military participation from the international alliance," Ahmad said, estimating that the battle to liberate Raqqa would take months, "but definitely not years."

The offensive to liberate Raqqa from Daesh, codenamed Operation Euphrates Rage, was launched by the SDF on November 5, 2016.

Following indications from US Defense Secretary Ash Carter earlier this week, President Barack Obama confirmed on Friday that the Pentagon would deploy between 20 and 50 “advisers” to combat the self-proclaimed Islamic State terror group in Syria. - Sputnik International
US May Send Additional 1,000 Troops to Back Anti-Daesh Op in Syria's Raqqa
Earlier in March, President Bahsar Assad said the Syrian Army will liberate Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor from Daesh terrorists within several months provided that there is no interference of foreign actors

Turkey, whose army's unauthorized presence in Syria is viewed by Damascus as occupation, has also taken aim at Raqqa. Damascus insists on Ankara's withdrawal from Syria.

The civil war in Syria has been lasting for around six years with government troops fighting against numerous opposition factions and terror organizations such as al-Nusra Front and Daesh, outlawed in Russia.

The nationwide Syrian ceasefire regime was introduced on December 30, 2016. Terrorist organizations are not part of the ceasefire.

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