Daesh Leaders Fleeing 'Wrath of the Euphrates' in Raqqa Head for Deir ez-Zor

© AP Photo / Daesh fighters fire during a a battle against the Syrian government forces, at al-Sinaa neighborhoods, in the oil-rich city of Deir el-Zour, east of Syria (File)
Daesh fighters fire during a a battle against the Syrian government forces, at al-Sinaa neighborhoods, in the oil-rich city of Deir el-Zour, east of Syria (File) - Sputnik International
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The Wrath of the Euphrates operation led by the Syrian Democratic Forces has forced Daesh leaders to flee Raqqa towards Deir ez-Zor, Kurdish fighters and political representatives told Sputnik.

A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up of US-backed Kurdish and Arab fighters, raises a flag of the SDF near the village of Bir Fawaz, 20 km north of Raqqa, during their offensive towards the Islamic State (IS) group's Syrian stronghold as part of the third phase retake the city and its surroundings, on February 8, 2017 - Sputnik International
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A string of military defeats has forced Daesh leaders to flee Raqqa in northern Syria for Deir ez-Zor in the country's east, Ewwas Eli of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) told Sputnik Turkiye.

In November 2016, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces launched the Wrath of the Euphrates military operation to liberate Raqqa and the surrounding area, with the air backing of the US-led coalition.

"The coalition air forces have recorded the movement of terrorists from the former stronghold of Raqqa towards Deir ez-Zor. Daesh leaders have fled with their families and taken light weapons, medical equipment and some other necessities from Raqqa with them."

"Since the coalition airplanes have bombed bridges, the jihadists can't take heavy weapons and military equipment from Raqqa. They are fleeing to Deir ez-Zor via the town of Tabqa, so when Tabqa is captured the terrorists' escape routes will be cut off," Eli explained.

The Syrian army continues to defend Deir ez-Zor from Daesh terrorists, who attacked the city's airport past month.

"In the south of the city there is an airport which is in the hands of government forces. In addition, two districts of Deir ez-Zor are also under the control of the authorities. With the exception of this small area, all of Deir ez-Zor is in the hands of Daesh," Eli explained.

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Nesrin Ebdullah, spokeswoman for the People's Protection Unions (YPG) and the all-female Women's Protection Units (YPJ), also told Sputnik that Daesh leaders had been forced to flee Raqqa. She added that the operation to liberate the city was proceeding more slowly than desired because of Daesh's use of civilians as human shields. 

"According to our information, Daesh terrorists began to look for ways to escape after Raqqa was surrounded. A lot of Daesh leaders and their families are fleeing from Raqqa to Deir ez-Zor, foreign militants are also trying to take refuge in Deir ez-Zor and Meyadin."

"All this indicates that Daesh is rapidly losing its positions in the region. By fleeing to Deir ez-Zor, Daesh terrorists recognize their own defeat and the liberation of Raqqa is just around the corner. For a long time, Daesh terrorists showed resistance in both Til Hemis and Tell Abyad, but eventually were forced out. In the places where we conducted operations, Daesh was forced to retreat. It may take a while, but Daesh is losing its positions in the region," Ebdullah said.

The SDF was formed in 2015 as the defense force of northern Syria's de facto autonomous Rojava region and is supported by the US-led coalition. The group is among the forces fighting Daesh and brings together Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian and Turkmen fighters, among others.

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