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    A Syrian Democratic Forces(SDF) fighter poses for a picture near Euphrates River, north of Raqqa city, Syria March 8, 2017

    Syrian Democratic Forces Pledge to Defeat Daesh 'Capital' Raqqa Single-Handedly

    © REUTERS / Rodi Said
    Middle East
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    The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which include US-backed Kurdish and Arab fighters, are ready to liberate the Syrian city of Raqqa from Daesh without support from foreign troops, according to SDF spokesman Jihan Sheikh Ahmed.

    RIA Novosti quoted Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesman Jihan Sheikh Ahmed as saying that the SDF, a US-backed group dominated by the Syrian Kurdish militia group YPG, is poised and ready to drive Daesh (ISIL/ISIS) out of its Syrian stronghold Raqqa without foreign troops supporting its ground operation.

    Raqqa, a city some 160 kilometers east of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, is in the process of being encircled by the SDF and US artillery and armored personnel carriers.

    The Kurds have served as America's primary ally in the fight against Daesh.

    Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters walk with their weapons during an offensive against Daesh terrorists in northern Raqqa province, Syria
    © REUTERS / Rodi Said
    Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters walk with their weapons during an offensive against Daesh terrorists in northern Raqqa province, Syria

    Earlier, SDF spokesman Talal Silo said, referring to Raqqa, that they "expect that within a few weeks there will be a siege of the city."

    He was also quoted by the Iranian news agency Fars as saying that the Arab-Kurdish detachments will not allow Turkey to participate in their military operation, since they see Ankara as "an occupant" in northern Syria.

    Selo was echoed by Ahmed, who said that the strength of the SDF is growing, and that they have enough power to liberate Raqqa all by themselves.

    "We do not need foreign troops to eradicate Daesh in Raqqa," Ahmad was quoted by the TV channel Kurdistan 24 as saying.

    Operation Euphrates Rage, aimed at liberating Raqqa from Daesh, was launched by the SDF on November 5, 2016.

    The city was captured by Daesh terrorists in 2013, and a year later, the Syrian army lost control of the remainder of Raqqa province.

    In a recent interview, Syrian President Bashar Assad said that he does not consider the liberation of Raqqa, which in 2012 had a population of over 220,000, a priority task.

    He stressed that priorities depend on the course of combat operations, and as far as Raqqa is concerned, "it is little more than a Daesh symbol."

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