DAMASCUS, SYRIA (6:20 P.M.) – A fighter embedded with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said over 10,000 residents of Tabqa city had fled through newly established humanitarian corridors as urban warfare intensified between the warring parties in western Raqqa.
Meanwhile, the predominately Kurdish SDF – supported by a Manbij Military Council (MMC) contingent – followed up on recent gains in in northern Raqqa by seizing the villages of Kabash Gharbi Saghir, Ruwayyan, Mazraat al-Hukumia and Tall Hazimah, Al-Abbara and Tall Jerbo in a region Al-Masdar News predicted would collapse yesterday due to a large-scale ISIS withdrawal.
The former ISIS bastion of Tabqa was encircled on April 2 and stormed two weeks later. Momentarily, Kurdish troops have established a firm foothold in two neighborhoods, liberating approximately 20% of the city itself.
The predominately Arab city of Tabqa was home to a pre-war population of 70,000 and recently received many refugees from eastern Aleppo, raising concerns that Islamic State forces may use them as human shields to deter US airstrikes.
Over the past two days alone, 47 ISIS militants have been killed while at least one wounded jihadist was captured, footage reveals: