The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who on Saturday announced they were launching the third phase of the Wrath of Euphrates operation targeting the liberation of the Islamic State’s (IS) Syrian stronghold of Raqqa, has advanced closer to the city.
The SDF, which is advancing towards Raqqa on two fronts, has taken the Dukhan hamlet to the north-east of the city. Reports from the frontline say that this arm of the operation has advanced 18 kilometres.
The latest phase of the military operation aims to completely encircle the city and sever all roads to militant strongholds in Deir al-Zor province, on the Iraq border.
The SDF is a multi-ethnic fighting force formed of Kurdish, Arab, Syriac and Turkmen factions. The reportedly 50,000 strong military force is affiliated to the Syrian Democratic Council, which supports a federal solution to the Syrian crisis, and is active in the north of the country.