Kurdish YPG And Syrian Democratic Forces Near Raqqa

By Updated at 2017-03-09 21:32:37 +0000

Kurdish_ypg_and_syrian_democratic_forces_(sdf)__near_raqqa

By Tom Perry |

BEIRUT — Syrian forces said they expected to reach the outskirts of Islamic State-held Raqqa in a few weeks, as a U.S. Marines artillery unit deployed to help the campaign.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a militia alliance including the Kurdish YPG, is the main U.S. partner in the war against Islamic State in Syria. Since November it has been working with the U.S.-led coalition to encircle Raqqa.

SDF spokesman Talal Silo said: "We expect that within a few weeks there will be a siege of the city."

Coalition spokesman U.S. Air Force Colonel John Dorrian said the additional U.S. forces would be working with local partners in Syria - the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Syrian Arab Coalition - and would not have a front line role.

Some 500 U.S. personnel are already in Syria to help the fight against IS. A 400-strong additional deployment which arrived in recent days comprised both Marines and Army Rangers, Dorrian said, adding they were there temporarily.

Coalition airstrikes killed 23 civilians, including eight children, in the countryside north of Raqqa on Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor said. The coalition said it was investigating the incident.

Islamic State is also being fought in Syria by the Russian-backed Syrian military, and by Syrian rebel groups fighting under the Free Syrian Army banner with Turkish backing in northern Syria and Jordanian backing in southern Syria.

Comments