DAMASCUS, SYRIA (1:30 P.M.) – On Thursday morning, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) followed up on the capture of 8 villages earlier this week by expelling Islamic State units from two more villages in rural Raqqa.
Advancing northwest of Raqqa city amid phase four of the Euphrates Wrath offensive, the US-backed fighters were able to impose full control over the village of Mazraat al-Andalus near the main highway leading to the provincial capital.
In addition, Kurdish forces simultaneously continued their advance east of Raqqa, gaining control over the village of Hamrat Ghanam in the early morning hours. Sappers also arrived in the newly liberated villages to clear ISIS mines and booby traps.
Meanwhile, 248 new SDF fighters signed up to join Kurdish ranks in rural Raqqa on Thursday. Many of these new recruits are refugees liberated from ISIS-held territory.
Furthermore, Kurdish engineers had brought Tabqa Dam back to partial functionality with water once again passing through the facility.
Due to recent advances, SDF contingents are only three kilometers from Raqqa city on its eastern flank. Meanwhile, ISIS has its back against the wall on the Euphrates River.
Around 4,000 ISIS insurgents are estimated to be preparing for the battle of Raqqa city, expected to begin in the weeks to come and unfold over the summer.
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