US-backed Syrian fighters have taken away almost half of Raqqa from the Islamic State group, but the advance into the northern city has slowed down due to large amounts of explosives planted by the extremists and their counteroffensives, a spokeswoman for the fighters and a monitoring group said Thursday. This was reported by the Associated Press.
“The assault on Raqqa by the Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led fighting coalition, began June 6, backed by US-led coalition airstrikes and US troops advising the local forces. Since then, the SDF has made steady advances from the eastern and western sides of the city reaching the walled old quarter,” the message says.
The capture of Raqqa, the Islamic State group’s self-proclaimed capital, would be a huge loss for the extremist group that earlier this month lost the Iraqi city of Mosul. But the liberation of Raqqa is still far off despite the progress.
Nazreen Abdullah, the Kurdish spokeswoman, told The Associated Press that the pace of the advance into Raqqa has slowed because of massive amounts of explosives laid by ISIS fighters. As the extremists become more surrounded, they have increased their suicide attacks against fighters of the SDF, she added.
“Raqqa has become a booby trapped city and this shows their (IS) weakness,” Abdullah, of the Women’s Protection Units, said speaking from northern Syria. “They are also using civilians as human shields and this is slowing the push as well.”
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