DAMASCUS, SYRIA (6:30 P.M.) – Predominately Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continue their military operations near Tabqa city in southwestern Raqqa countryside striking positions of the so-called “Islamic State” (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) to the east of the city.
The assault they launched on Tuesday morning proved successful as SDF units backed by U.S. military captured 3 villages 20 kilometres east of Tabqa, namely: Hawra, Baroudah and Matyourah.
According to SDF sources, no at least 25 IS jihadists have been liquidated as a result of the attack.
In the meantime, SDF troops made further advances south of Tabqa airbase today capturing Ajrawi village and Issa Mahmoud Farm.
Kurdish forces intensified their activity at Tabqa frontlines on Sunday having captured six villages and a number of important sites from IS in a major push to the east and southeast of Tabqa.
The main strategic goal of these operations seems to be clear: to prevent Syrian Arab Army (SAA) from reaching Raqqa city. However, there is also a tactical reason for such a manoeuvre.
With SAA’s elite Tiger Forces division methodically driving IS out of Maskanah Plains, hundreds of jihadists are more and more likely to retreat from their sole remaining Aleppo stronghold. It is logical that IS leadership will likely try to reinforce Raqqa defenses with the fighters withdrawing from Maskanah.
Tactically, SDF has been so far doing everything to prevent this, as several hundred additional militants in Raqqa are going to be a major complication for the upcoming assault on the city.