21:40 GMT +319 November 2019
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    A Kurdish fighter from the People's Protection Units (YPG) looks at a smoke after an coalition airstrike in Raqqa, Syria June 16, 2017

    Raqqa Not Liberated Yet as Kurdish-Led SDF Rebels' Clashes With Daesh Continue

    © REUTERS / Goran Tomasevic
    Middle East
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    Operation to Liberate Raqqa From Daesh (61)

    The Kurdish-led SDF have been conducting the military campaign to liberate Raqqa from terrorists since November 2016.

    "Clashes in Raqqa continue. Claims that the city is completely liberated from Daesh are false," the media representative of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) rebels, Mustafa Balli, has told Sputnik Turkey.

    The statement comes amid AFP’s earlier report, citing the SDF, that the US-backed rebels had established control over Raqqa, the so-called former Daesh "capital," while an operation to clear the city of the remaining militants continued.

    Earlier media reports cited eyewitnesses as saying that the US-backed rebels had raised a flag inside the Raqqa stadium.

    Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon later in the day has commented on the ongoing operation.

    "After more than four months of operations, Raqqa is more than 90 percent cleared. We are aware of the reports that ISIS [Daesh] has been defeated in Raqqa however clearance operations continue and we expect our SDF partners to hit pockets of resistance as the final parts of the city are cleared."

    Dillon estimated that roughly 100 Daesh fighters could still be holding out in Raqqa. "Today in Syria, ISIS is losing its grip," Dillon concluded.

    The Raqqa advance comes days after the final assault on the city was announced after an evacuation of civilians and Daesh terrorists, who agreed to leave the Syrian city, had been carried out. The evacuation of civilians and 275 Daesh terrorists of Syrian origin was part of an agreement reached by the US-led coalition. After a convoy with evacuees left the former "capital" of Daesh terrorist group, the final battle with remaining 200-300 terrorists mostly from foreign states began.

    Raqqa has been under Daesh's control since 2013. On November 6, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, also consisting of Arab, Assyrian and Turkmen fighters, among others, announced the start of the military operation to liberate the Syrian city of Raqqa from Daesh terrorist group with the assistance of the US-led coalition's airstrikes. Raqqa’s Old City was freed from Daesh last month.

    Operation to Liberate Raqqa From Daesh (61)


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    Daesh, Syria, Raqqa
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