Phase III of the Euphrates Wrath offensive proved highly effective as the Kurdish-led ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) swept through village after village in the sparsely populated desert terrain east of Raqqa over the past week.

On Thursday around noon, US-backed SDF militants also seized the villages Azman, Belesh and Fernam Xerbi following other gains in the morning. US warplanes paved the way for the advances.

Effectively, the SDF has wrestled control of 40 villages over the past 8 days, thus reducing the self-proclaimed caliphate’s territory by about 680 square kilometers.

With Kurdish forward units establishing an outpost on the northern bank of the Euphrates River, US-backed forces have cutoff the main road linking Raqqa with Deir Ezzor.

During the third phase of the offensive, 49 ISIS militants were killed-in-action while three jihadist combattants surrendered themselves. In addition, 7 technicals and 2 bomb-manufacturing facilities were destroyed.

Next, Kurdish forces will push towards the provincial capital of Raqqa, a prize only 4 kilometers away from the newly captured Cotton Center.

A larger version of the map can be found here.

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Student currently living in Denmark. Special focus on news from Syria, MENA map-making and strategical military analysis.

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2017-02-23 20:40

It’s really hard to “liberate” empty villages.