BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:00 P.M.) – In a recent interview with the Reuters news agency, a leading commander of the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), the all-female counterpart to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), claimed that the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – which both militias are a part of – currently has 15,000 troops invested in the ongoing battle for Raqqa city.

The commander, Nowruz Ahmed, said that this US-vetted Raqqa strike force of 15,000 fighters is part of total SDF strength of at least fifty thousand troops, located throughout all of northern Syria, which have been in service since the end of last year with; this number, she clarified, continues to grow.

In reference to the battle for Raqqa, Ahmed believes that there are around 700 to 1,000 ISIS militants remaining in the city (compared to a recent US intelligence estimate of 2,000) and that it would take about another two months before the SDF fully captured the city from the terrorist group.

Ahmed added that the SDF has no intention to remain in Raqqa after the city is cleared of ISIS unless asked to do so, that there currently was no planned operation for an advance into Deir Ezzor Governorate, although commanders were “studying” such an offensive, and that the US-backed alliance would remain neutral towards government-led forces so long as they did not “make a target” of it.

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