Cihan Sheikh Ahmed, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces’ Wrath of Euphrates operation, said that they will take the Tabqah Dam – Syria’s biggest – from the Islamic State (IS) and surround Raqqa from four sides.
Reports on Wednesday morning had said US-led coalition airstrikes hit the city of Tabqah (also known as al-Thawrah) located west of Raqqa, while the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) crossed the Euphrates river by boat landing in Abu Hurayrah village in the western countryside of Tabqah.
US Central Command’s Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve later confirmed the offensive against IS on the city of Tabqah.
“The operation to liberate Tabqah is on its second day,” Ahmed told Russian news agency Sputnik, “We are also aiming to take Tabqah Dam. We formed a military base in Tabqah. Coalition soldiers from France and the UK are also taking part in the operation. We crossed the Euphrates River for the first time. For the first time we were airlifted to an operation area. We will do whatever necessary to liberate Raqqa.”
“We will close off the Tabqah-Raqqa road. Raqqa will be surrounded from all four sides. Tabqah holds a strategic importance for IS in the defence of Raqqa,” Ahmed continued.
The Tabqah Dam is Syria’s biggest dam and was taken by IS in August 2014. “By taking the dam we want to open it back up to serve the Syrian people,” Ahmed concluded.