DAMASCUS, SYRIA (4:00 P.M.) – Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alongside with US-led coalition continue their large-scale operation against the so-called “Islamic State” (IS, or also ISIS/ISIL) in Raqqa province.
On Thursday evening, SDF units backed by coalition’s airstrikes managed to capture Khirbat Al-Khan village located directly north of Raqqa. This advance allowed SDF and their allies to position themselves just 9 kilometres from the provincial capital.
Earlier on that day, SDF also captured three nearby villages, namely Nebiyah, Al-Jala’a and Maisalun.
Overall, Thursday has produced the fiercest clashes in rural Raqqa since the beginning of the year, with SDF claiming to have neutralized 26 ISIS militants, while ISIS-affiliated ‘Amaq agency’ claims that 104 SDF fighters were killed in the clashes. Al-Masdar News is currently unable to independently verify either of these claims.
Below are the photos taken by Amaq in Raqqa countryside showing an SDF position near Royan village being hit by an anti-tank guided missile (ATGM):
Meanwhile, units of SDF and Manbij Military Council (MMC) that were participating in recent Tabqa offensive had begun regrouping in order to join main forces conducting the Raqqa offensive.