Tabnak – As the operations against ISIS terrorists are still going on in different regions of Syria, there have been some reports of a plan by the Syrian rebels to take their final step against the terrorists in Raqqa. If successful, the move could cut the last vital vein of the group in the war-torn country.
According to a report published by the Reuters, Arab and Kurdish militias expect to storm ISIS’ Syrian stronghold of Raqqa in early summer, one of their commanders said on Friday, with the help of weapons they are awaiting from the US-led coalition against ISIS.
Abdul Qader Hevdeli, a commander of the militias known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said they were expecting supplies including armored vehicles as they embark on what will be one of the defining battles of the war against the terrorists in Iraq and Syria.
"I can't specify exactly; I believe entering and storming the city will happen at the start of the summer," he said in a news conference in Tabqa city, which the SDF took from ISIL on Wednesday. Hevdeli said the US arms shipments would "arrive soon" and added that Raqqa would be captured without help from other forces.
In a separate report, Aljazeera notes that The announcement on Friday followed US President Donald Trump's decision on Monday to approve direct arms shipments to the SDF's Kurdish elements - the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) - to "ensure a clear victory" over ISIS.
The reports further indicates that The SDF's war on Raqqa has already seen the mainly Kurdish group capture large swathes of the surrounding province with help from the US-led coalition bombing ISIL in Iraq and Syria. This week, following months of fighting, the SDF seized the strategic town of Tabqa, to the west of Raqqa, and a major hydroelectric dam nearby.
Some 25,000 people had been displaced from Tabqa during fighting in recent weeks, staying in informal settlements south of the city, a U.N. refugee agency official in Syria, Roupen Alexandrian, said. Displaced residents had begun to return after Tabqa was captured, he added.
About the situation in Tabqa, Kurdish news outlet Rudaw claims that the SDF is to hand over Tabqa city to a civilian authority, citing the spokesperson for the Raqqa operation.
"The administration of Tabqa will be handed over to the civilian Council of Tabqa to administer its affairs together with the internal security that comes under its command after the full liberation of the city and clearing it from mines and remnants of the operation,” Cihan Sheikh Ahmed told reporters in a statement.
Meanwhile, in northern Syria, members of ISIS terrorist group attacked the road linking the city of Aleppo, the country's largest city, with the rest of the country that is controlled by the government including the capital Damascus.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, that monitors the conflict through a network of on-the-ground activists, said the attack occurred early Friday south of the town of Khanaser leaving five troops, including a major, dead. The ISIS-linked Aamaq news agency said the attack killed nine troops and left a Russian T-72 tank destroyed.
In should be noted that around 3,000 ISIS fighters are believed to still be in Raqqa, according to The Telegraph, with an estimated 300,000 people living under terrorists rule.
The area had been considered to be the self-proclaimed "caliphate capital” of ISIS since the terror group swept into the city in 2013, but recent reports say the group is now centered in Deir ez-Zur, approximately 90 miles southeast of Raqqa.