Local forces control 45 per cent of Raqa
Turkey’s NATO allies do not regard the YPG as a terror organisation.
Already in August 2016, Turkey launched a ground offensive into norther Syria to push back IS fighters and prevent the YPG forces linking up their different zones of control. The Kurdish-Syrian alliance battling to recapture Raqa from the Islamic State group has now seized about 45 per cent of the extremists’ Syria stronghold, a top US official said on Friday.
The US-backed Syrian Dem- ocratic Forces militia (SDF) began a campaign to capture Raqa from IS last year, slowly encircling the city before breaking into it for the first time in June. “As of today, the SDF has seized about 45 per cent [of Raqa],” said Brett McGurk, the senior US envoy to the interna- tional coalition fighting IS in Iraq and Syria.
The recapture of Raqa would mark a major milestone in the three-year effort to defeat IS.
The extremists were ousted from their main Iraqi bastion of Mosul last month.
A Syrian child, who fled from the Islamic State controlled city of Raqa, sits at a camp in the town of Tabqa, about 55km west of the Syrian city