US- backed forces launch anti- IS offensive in Syria
WASHINGTOM— Thousands of US- backed fighters in Syria are launching an offensive to capture from ISIS a crucial swathe of northern Syria known as the Manbij pocket following weeks of quiet preparations, US officials disclosed to Reuters.
The operation, which only just started to get underway on Wednesday and could take weeks to complete, aims to choke off ISIS’s access to Syrian territory along the Turkish border that militants have long used as a logistics base for moving foreign fighters back and forth to Europe. “It’s significant in that it’s their last remaining funnel” to Europe, a US military official said.
A small number of US special operations forces will support the offensive on the ground, acting as advisors and staying some distance back from the front lines, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss military planning.
“They’ll be as close as they need to be for the ( Syrian fighters) to complete the operation. But they will not engage in direct combat,” the official said.
A US fighter, who is fighting alongside with Syria Democratic Forces ( SDF), carries his national flag as he stands with SDF fighters in northern province of Raqqa, Syria May 27, 2016. ( File Photo: Reuters) The operation will also count on support from US- led coalition air strikes as well as from ground- based firing positions across the border in Turkey.
Perhaps essential for NATO ally Turkey, the operation will be overwhelmingly comprised of Syrian Arabs instead of forces with the Kurdish YPG militia, who will only represent about a fifth or a sixth of the overall force, the officials said.— Agencies south, in the latest militant strike against production.
“With the heavy presence of 100 gunboats, four warships and jet bombers NDA blew up Chevron oil well RMP 23 and RMP 24 3: 44 am ( 0244 GMT) this morning ( Wednesday),” it said on Twitter.
Chevron officials refused to comment but an industry source who asked to remain anonymous said: “I can confirm the attack on the two oil wells.— APP