After capturing 7 villages yesterday, the US-backed ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ captured four more villages from the Islamic State on Monday.
Targeting poorly defended ISIS-held villages east of Raqqa, the predominately Kurdish SDF seized Qassar, Sabahul Xeyr, and El-Ferar in the early morning hours while Kurdish forces also captured Terfawî on Monday evening. 4 Islamic State insurgents were neutralized at the latter village.
Nearby, an ISIS sleeper cell was apprehended by Kurdish security forces as he tried to bypass the frontline posing as a refugee. Unfortunately for the would-be infiltrator, military equipment was discovered in his car boot which suggested ties to ISIS.
Furthermore, an ISIS suicide bomber saw his vehicle break down due to technical failure on the outskirts of Qassar village. He later surrendered to the Kurdish forces.
In recent weeks, the SDF has seized dozens of villages in sparsely populated ISIS territory in what has been described as phase three of the Euphrates Wrath offensive.
Meanwhile, skirmishes broke out between Turkish-backed Syrian rebels near Azaz and SDF militants of the Efrin enclave.
The Turkish Air Force was also operational in northern Syria today, striking both US-backed Kurdish militants and Islamic State forces at Al-Bab.
SDF forwards units are stationary around 5 kilometers northeast of the city after being expelled from the Cotton Center two days ago.