US Central Command’s Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve confirmed the on-going offensive against Islamic State (IS) on the city of Tabqah on Wednesday.
Airdrops and boats landed supplies, vehicles and fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on at least two spots behind enemy lines across the Euphrates River west and northwest of Tabqah city in the night between 21-22 March.
4 villages were reportedly captured by the SDF and US special forces as they advanced towards the city. While the offensive aims to take the dam, some sources have already claimed the strategic dam was seized under cover of US artillery.
Over the last four months, the US-led coalition has conducted more than 300 airstrikes around Tabqah and Raqqa. Locals fear that IS might blow up the dam, or that the raids will damage it, which would flood the area. In its statement the coalition assured that precautions to ensure the dam wouldn’t be damaged were taken.
Seizing & controlling Tabqah Dam will isolate Raqqah from 3 sides & give the SDF the strategic advantage needed for liberation of the city.
— Inherent Resolve (@CJTFOIR) March 22, 2017
Colonel Joe Scrocca said in the Inherent Resolve statement that the “SDF and their local Syrian Arab Coalition fighters have proven to be the most effective ground force against ISIS in Syria.
“It is the SDF on the ground, putting their lives at risk, and violently engaging the enemy,” said Scrocca. “And it is the SDF, like the Iraqi Security Forces, who are making the sacrifice so that other Coalition nations do not continue to suffer the threat of ISIS terrorism inside our own borders.”