DAMASCUS, SYRIA (2:40 P.M.) – The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) restarted their operations in eastern Raqqa on Thursday, seizing two villages in the morning hours.
Striking westwards along the Euphrates River, the predominately Kurdish SDF managed to impose full control over Al-Kulayb and Hamad Assad while reaching the outskirts of Judayat Khabur, some 40 kilometers east of Raqqa.
Nearby, Kurdish fighters also discovered an ISIS tunnel in the newly liberated village of Kas Ecil and disabled an Islamic State car bomb.
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According to a source close to Al-Masdar News, the Raqqa offensive is led almost exclusively by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), causing some concern in Washington over a lack of Arab partners.
Unfortunately for the YPG’s Euphrates Wrath offensive, Raqqa is a predominately Arab city which may prove hostile to a Kurdish invasion.
Elsewhere, two US airstrikes destroyed the Al-Asharah bridge in the southern countryside of Deir Ezzor amid a bid to destroy the Islamic State’s infrastructure, local activists said.
Although regularly repaired, all ISIS-held bridges across the Euphrates River have reportedly been destroyed by Russian and American aerial sorties.