US-backed Kurdish troops made considerable headway in northern Raqqa on Friday as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – led by the Kurdish ‘People’s Protection Units’ (YPG) – continued their large-scale offensive in northern Raqqa, code-named operation ‘Euphrates Wrath, by capturing an additional two sites from the Islamic State.
Following up on a series of advances over the past week, Kurdish forces were able to seize full control over the village of Thuloth Khneiz and the adjacent hill, Tall es-Seman.
At the latter site, female Kurdish fighters rather symbolically pulled down a large Islamic State flag and replaced it with the SDF flag:
However, the SDF ran into trouble as its fighters tried to attack at a different axis; southwest of Ain Issa, 11 Kurdish militants were killed in a minefield near al-Farhud village.
In any case, Kurdish troops have now advanced to just 25 kilometers north of Raqqa city, but also rather significantly secured the northern bank of the al-Rey channel, thus allowing for new supplies and reinforcements to arrive unscathed from Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan).
Before embarking on the military campaign, Kurdish forward units were 37 kilometers north of Raqqa, the de facto Islamic State capital.
Effectively, ISIS forces are outnumbered about 5 to 1 while the self-proclaimed caliphate simultaneously finds itself desperately attempting to turn the tides in the battle for Mosul across the border in Iraq.