‘The battle for the liberation of Raqa has begun’ Kurdish fighters have announced the opening of Operation “Wrath of Euphrates” to capture Raqa, ISIS’ stronghold in Syria

Kurdish fighters in Syria

Kurdish fighters in Syria

Reuters

AFP – A US-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance launched an offensive Sunday on the Islamic State group’s de facto Syrian capital Raqa, upping pressure on the jihadists after Iraqi forces entered
their Iraqi bastion Mosul.

“The major battle to liberate Raqa and its surroundings has begun,” Jihan Sheikh Ahmed, a spokeswoman for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said at a press conference in Ain Issa, some 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of the jihadist bastion.

The operation, dubbed “The Wrath of the Euphrates,” involves some 30,000 fighters and had begun on Saturday night, Ahmed said.

SDF spokesman Talal Sello told AFP it would proceed in two phases, first seizing areas around Raqa and isolating the city, then “taking control of the city” itself.

“The fight will not be easy, and will require accurate and careful operations because IS will defend its bastion knowing that the loss of Raqa will mean it is finished in Syria,” he said.

An AFP correspondent in Ain Issa saw dozens of armed SDF fighters heading on vehicles towards the frontline.

The long-awaited operation comes two years after IS seized control of large parts of Syria and Iraq and declared its cross-border “caliphate”.

The jihadists have suffered a string of territorial defeats in recent months and are under pressure on multiple fronts.

After launching an offensive on Mosul on October 17, Iraqi special forces pushed into the city on Friday and have been facing stiff resistance from the jihadists.

Complicated battlefield

The loss of Mosul and Raqa would deprive IS of its largest population centers, undermining the group’s claim to a self-declared “state”.

But capturing the two cities, both still home to large civilian populations, is expected to be a lengthy, and likely bloody, process.

Driving the jihadists from their urban strongholds has been the end-game since a US-led coalition launched air strikes against IS in the summer of 2014.

The coalition has also provided training and deployed hundreds of advisors to work with Iraqi forces and select Syrian fighters, including the SDF.

Sello said the alliance had received new weapons from the coalition for the Raqa battle, including anti-tank missiles.

Shortly after visiting Iraq last month to check on the Mosul offensive, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that an assault on Raqa would take place “within weeks”.

The idea of simultaneous operations against Mosul and Raqa “has been part of our planning for quite a while,” he said.

But in Raqa the battlefront is far more complicated.

After five years of civil war, Syria is divided into a patchwork of fiefdoms, with President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, IS and a range of opposition forces all holding territory.

Carter singled out the SDF as the coalition’s potential ground partner in the Raqa offensive and last week the alliance said it would be leading the assault.

Dominated by the powerful Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the SDF has in recent months flushed IS out of swathes of territory in northern Syria, including the flashpoint town of Manbij in August.

Scene of worst atrocities

Washington has promoted the SDF as a key ally in the fight against IS, but the alliance is complicated by Turkey’s fierce opposition to the YPG.

Ankara calls the militia a “terrorist” group, and in August launched its own operation inside northern Syria, targeting both IS and the YPG.

Sello said on Sunday that the SDF had “agreed definitively” with the United States “that there will be no role for Turkey or the armed factions allied with it in the operation” to capture Raqa.

In northern Syria on the Euphrates River, Raqa was home to some 240,000 residents before 2011 and more than 80,000 people have fled there from other parts of the war-torn country.

It was the first provincial capital to fall from government control when rebels captured it in March 2013, two years after an uprising against Assad began.

IS drove out the rebels in January 2014 and five months later declared its self-styled Islamic “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq.

Raqa became the scene of some of IS’s worst atrocities, from stonings and beheadings to the trading of sex slaves.

Thousands of foreign fighters flocked to Raqa to join IS and US officials have described it as the nerve center for the group’s attacks abroad.

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About urielperez

His leadership and television interviews have gone trough out the world Uriel has done close to 500 interviews in Israel Jerusalem, and many more to come our main goal is to educate the world about Israel and its right to protect herself from any form of terrorism .Israel is facing many challenges and dangers, and has been for a very long time. There is, an unprecedented propaganda campaign initiated by the Arab League to demonize, to discredit and delegitimize the Jewish people and its state, in its own land!. In order to achieve their goals, the Arabs have for more than 30 years resorted to a deliberate misinformation campaign.This propaganda campaign by the Arab League - both in their own countries and for the last three decades exported to Europe and North America - has caused to Israel what would seem irreparable damage and indeed, it was the main culprit in the reawakening of dormant European anti-Semitism Israel has suffered many terror attacks from terrorist .Israel should not bow down to any pressure imposed by the USA the EU. the Quartet nor the UN The current Obama administration continues to work behind the scenes by using John Kerry and others to fulfill their hidden agenda as I call it. The Obama administration is trying to force Israel to give up more land for false peace as we have seen in the past .Judea and Samaria and possibly the Jordan Valley are at the negotiating table and if the so called Palestinians obtain Judea and Samaria and possibly the Jordan Valley, Givat Haroe'eh in the Samaria community of Eli, Ramat Gilad and Giv'at Assaf (also in Samaria), and Mitzpeh Lachish, near Nehogot, outside Hevron. they can easily rain down rockets towards any city within Israel and Israel will be left without defensible borders . We say no land for false peace as we have seen in the past. Barrack Hussein Obama has a hidden agenda against Israel. Israel will face many difficult days ahead See Psalms 83' as we have seen what happened with Gush Katif were almost 9,000 Jews were forced out of their own Jewish land due to US pressure , now Bet El Almuna and Migron and Judea and Samaria face the same consequence .More than 17,000 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel over 11,000, just to Sderot by Islamist extremist who want the total destruction of my people Israel. Hamas terrorist who are supported by Iran and now Hamas has joined hands with Fatah.Iran Lebanon Hezbollah Syria want the total destruction of Israel and now Al Qaeda and ISIS who are operating in Syria Egypt and the Sinai Desert will do anything in their power to destroy my people Israel and all Jews. The Moslem/ Arabs in that area started calling themselves “Palestinians” nearly 40 years ago. “Palestinian” refers to people who live in Palestine: Arabs (“Arabic speaking peoples”), Bedouins, Druze, Christians, and Jews. No people or nation ever ruled as a sovereign national entity on this land there is no Palestinian language or culture in past history. Palestine, as a country does not presently exist. No Arab nation has their historical roots on the land and no one have cl...aim to this territory other than the Jews. The Jewish rule of this land extended over a period of over 2000 years. Israel became a nation in the land in 1312 BC. God gave them the land in a covenant (Deuteronomy 29:1-30:20) and they lived there See Quote from Quran', Death to the enemies of Allah Those that make war against Allah and His apostle and spread disorder in the land shall be slain or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the land. They shall be held up to shame in this world and sternly punished in the hereafter: except those that repent before you reduce them. For you must know that Allah is forgiving and merciful.Al-Maidah The Table 5:33-34 This is what radical Islam say's about us Jews' "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim). Judea and Samaria also faces many challenges in the days to come as Abbu Massen will try to pressure the entire world and US President Barrack Hussein Obama the EU and the Quartet into giving more land for false peace we saw what happened after the Oslo Accords were signed more terror against Israel . Abbu Massen the PA. leader approached the United Nations this past November 2012 and has ask them to declare them a recognized nation within Israel known borders. The time has come to tell the entire world the real truth about the enemies of Israel .We speak on the Quran with a Power Point with videos. We have spoken on CNN TV and radio stations on the current issues of Israel, Uriel has a heart for his people Israel and will continue to inform the entire world the real truth as many News Media trough out the world are anti-Semitic and won't tell you the real truth. Born in the USA lives in Israel Jerusalem knows karate and Boxing played semi pro baseball married to Efrat and we have two children a girl and a son all three of them are born in Jerusalem . I discovered in 2004 that were possible Converso Marrano Jews from Spain who's ancestors were forced to convert to Catholicism during the time of the Inquisition in 1492 .Our family names Centeno and Perez are registered in El Libro Verde De Aragon in Spain were the catholic Inquisitors maintained all the names of all Jewish families who were forced to convert to Catholicism during that horrible time period in Spain.A former police officer who knows Karate boxing played semi pro Baseball studied at Temple University political science. Since 2004 we have been Flying back and forth from the USA speaking to the nations on the current issues of the the state of Israel see Psalms 83' as the nations gather against Israel.Have spoken on CNN AL Jazeera Al Arabiya Dubai TV Holland TV German TV also American Family Radio which links up with 700 radio stations .Our goal is to educate the entire world that Israel has the right to self determination and the right to defend itself from terrorism For Bookings call USA-1321-593-0960 Israel 972526357088 Support our work Via Paypal to judah92@gmail.com Visit our Youtube News Channel directly from Israel Jerusalem http://youtu.be/6IdveOM-Njg https://twitter.com/Jerusalem2004 https://www.youtube.com/user/MrUriel2004 http://youtu.be/jleJ9zKQqUU https://www.facebook.com/pages/News-videos-from-Israel/482484308485691 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Breaking-News-from-Israel-Jerusalem/238100002867219 https://urielperezcenteno.wordpress.com/ https://www.facebook.com/groups/ForthesakeofJerusalem/ י חָשַׂף יְהוָה אֶת-זְרוֹעַ קָדְשׁוֹ, לְעֵינֵי כָּל-הַגּוֹיִם; וְרָאוּ, כָּל-אַפְסֵי-אָרֶץ, אֵת, יְשׁוּעַת אֱלֹהֵינוּ. {ס} The LORD hath made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
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