US-backed fighters take IS held village outside Raqa
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