US-backed fight­ers take IS held vil­lage out­side Raqa

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

US-backed fight­ers said they have seized a vil­lage where the Is­lamic State group had a train­ing camp and base near the ji­hadist strong­hold of Raqa in north­ern Syria. The ad­vance comes as the Syr­ian Demo­cratic Forces mili­tia, an al­liance of Kur­dish and Arab fight­ers, bat­tles to oust IS from Raqa, one of their last re­main­ing bas­tions in Syria. “The SDF has cap­tured the vil­lage of AlAk­eryshi east of the city (of Raqa) and IS car bomb at­tacks at­tempt­ing to take it back have failed,” the al­liance said late Mon­day.

The Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights, a Bri­tain-based mon­i­tor, said the vil­lage had been used by IS as both a mil­i­tary base and a train­ing camp named af­ter slain Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. But the ji­hadist group also car­ried out a mas­sacre of up to 200 of its own mem­bers in the vil­lage in 2015, ac­cord­ing to the mon­i­tor, ex­e­cut­ing fight­ers who were ac­cused of seek­ing to leave its ranks.

The SDF has cap­tured around 30 per­cent of Raqa city since it en­tered the IS bas­tion in June af­ter a months-long op­er­a­tion to cap­ture ter­ri­tory in the sur­round­ing prov­ince.

The US-backed coali­tion fight­ing IS in Syria and Iraq has pro­vided the SDF with key sup­port rang­ing from air strikes to weaponry and ad­vi­sors on the ground.—AFP

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