Tabnak – As the battles are still ongoing on different fronts to liberate the Syrian city of Raqqa from ISIS’ grip, it is reported that the US backed armed forces have been successful in gaining the most. Meanwhile, the risk of a serious clash between these forces and the Syrian army is growing elsewhere.
According to a Press TV report, the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed group of Kurdish and Arab forces, has wrested control over 90 percent of the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, which used to serve as the main ISIS stronghold in the country.
Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), said on Wednesday that ISIS "withdrew from at least five key neighborhoods over the past 48 hours.” The ISIS retreat "allowed the Syrian Democratic Forces to control 90 percent of the city,” he added, stressing that the terror group is now "confined” to Raqqa city center.
ISIS captured Raqqa in July 2014 and declared the city its stronghold in Syria. The SDF launched its assault on Raqqa on June 6. The Syrian army soldiers, backed by allied fighters, are also engaged in counter-terrorism operations around Raqqa.
Meanwhile, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said in a statement that the Syrian Army troops have come under heavy shelling by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in their operation against ISIS terrorists on the Eastern bank of the Euphrates River in Deir Ezzur province.
"According to the reports of the Syrian Army commanders, the most vicious counterattacks and massive shelling are launched from the North that is controlled by the ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) and the US special forces that were deployed to the area to allegedly ‘lend medical assistance’ to these militants instead of liberating Raqqa,” the statement said.
"As the final defeat of ISIS in Syria draws near, it becomes increasingly more evident who really fights the ISIS and who just imitates a fight for three years,” he said. "Even if the US-led coalition is not willing to fight terrorism in Syria, it should at least not prevent those who really do that consistently and effectively (from fighting terrorist groups).”
However, elsewhere in Syria, the militants, backed up by the US and Jordan agreed to hand over their positions at border with Jordan to the Syrian Army troops, a Russian media outlet reported on Wednesday.
The Arabic-language website of the Russia's state news agency, Sputnik, reported that the militants that are supported by Washington and Amman have agreed to deliver a part of Syria's Southern border, including al-Nasib border-crossing, to the Syrian army.
The decision came after the US-backed militants held talks with the Russian military in Syria. Also, a military source said that the terrorists have started to evacuate their military hardware from the border region.
Syria has been gripped by civil war since March 2011 with various terrorist groups, including ISIS, currently controlling parts of it.
According to a report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injured 1.9 million others, and displaced nearly half of the country’s pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.