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Syrian Democratic Forces Initiate Next Phase of Raqqa Isolation

From a U.S. Central Command News Release

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SOUTHWEST ASIA, Dec. 12, 2016 — The Syrian Democratic Forces on Dec. 10 announced the start of the next phase of their operation to isolate the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa, U.S. Central Command officials reported today.

U.S. Central Command U.S. Central Command
U.S. Central Command

The SDF -- made up in part by local Arabs and its coalition –rained-and-equipped Arab component, the Syrian Arab Coalition, and supported by coalition advisors and airstrikes -- began the operation to isolate Raqqa on Nov. 5, officials said.

In their march toward Raqqa, the SDF has liberated dozens of villages and more than 700 square miles of ISIL-held terrain, Centcom officials said, adding that local Arab fighters continue to join the SDF and fight to liberate their own land.

Proven Ability

During the initial phase of isolation efforts, officials said, the coalition’s Syrian partners have proven their ability in battle, pushing ISIL back and destroying ISIL heavy weapons, vehicles, fortifications, bomb-making facilities, vehicle bombs, armored vehicles, technical vehicles, bridges, decoys and caches.

The coalition supports the SDF through training, advise-and-assist operations, airstrikes and material support to the Syrian Arab Coalition, officials said. Since the start of the operation, they added, the coalition conducted more than 300 strikes delivering more than 850 munitions in support of its partners on the ground to enable the isolation of Raqqa and defeat of ISIL in Syria.