On Wednesday morning, the Kurdish-led ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) captured another five villages in the eastern Raqqa countryside, thus completing a pincer manuever which Al-Masdar News recently predicted was underway.
By capturing the villages of Abū Hayyah, As-Shamiyah, Cerwan, Hemîdî and Qarih earlier today, the US-backed SDF have met up with allied Kurdish forces advancing through northern Deir Ezzor, thus fully encircling a large sparsely populated ISIS pocket around the villages of Mushayrifah Sharqiyah, Al-Qarah, and Bir Abu Tutah.
Over 100 hundred ISIS militants are effectively cutoff from the Islamic State mainland due to the third phase of the Euphrates Wrath offensive.
Meanwhile, SDF troops have also reached the northern bank of the Euphrates River where they find themselves busy fortifying newly captured towns. The latter advance is significant as it has severed the main ISIS supply road between Raqqa and Deir Ezzor.
Many civilians were joyful after being freed from several years of ISIS rule. In the newly liberated villages, women could be seen throwing off their burka:
— Chris Tomson (@TheDaneChris) February 22, 2017