Al-Raqqah city, which is considered the main stronghold of ISIS in Syria and the capital of its State, has been witnessing since the dawn of yesterday, the 4th of July 2017, violent clashes between the Syria Democratic Forces and the Syrian Elite Forces backed by the US Special Forces on one hand and ISIS on the other. The SOHR learned that the “Euphrates Wrath” Operation Forces, after breaking the first lines of defense of the “Islamic State” organization with the support of the International Coalition and the US Special Forces, managed to move 200 meters deeper into the old city of Al-Raqqah, along the line of contact opposite to Al-Sinaa neighborhood to Bab Baghdad.
Such an advancement into the city and its old neighborhoods coincided with a violent counter attack by ISIS on the area of Al-Hal Market, east of Hisham Ben Abdel Malik neighborhood, in the south east of Al-Raqqah city. The SOHR learned that ISIS elements managed to regain control over certain points in Al-Hal Market. Clashes were accompanied by an exchange of shelling between both parties.
In addition, violent clashes broke out between the Syria Democratic Forces backed by the US Special Forces on one hand and ISIS on the other, in areas in Al-Bareed neighborhood, from the side of Al-Romaniya in the western part of Al-Raqqah city, where the “Islamic State” organization carries out counter attacks to advance more and regain control over areas they lost to them previously. Meanwhile, clashes broke out between the “Euphrates Wrath” Operation Forces and ISIS elements in Ratla area which the latter lost to the former 48 hours ago. The SOHR learned that the violent clashes between both parties caused casualties at both sides. Specifically, 21 ISIS elements were killed in these clashes, which were accompanied by International Coalition airstrikes, while 5 members of the SDF were killed. In addition, others were injured, with various degrees of severity, and tens of civilians were displaced from their residences in Al-Raqqah to the areas controlled by the “Euphrates Wrath” Operation Forces.
SOHR published yesterday morning that the Syria Democratic Forces supported by the US Special Forces, were able to break the first defense lines of the “Islamic State” organization at the walls of the Old City, where violent clashes were taking place since dawn of yesterday against members of the “Islamic State” organization inside the Old City walls. The Syrian Observatory learned that 3 groups of the Syria Democratic Forces supported by US Special Forces and International Coalition warplanes advanced from 3 areas east of the wall of the Old City at the dawn of yesterday, and managed to penetrate the organization’s defenses under the air cover of the International Coalition warplanes. This is considered the most important advancement made by the “Euphrates Wrath” Operation Forces since the start of the Grand Battle of Al-Raqqah as they were finally able to break into the walls of the Old City in Al-Raqqah.
A video recorded by the SOHR shows the Syrian Elite Forces participating in the Grand Battle of Al-Raqqah forcing civilians to evacuate ISIS-controlled areas in Al-Raqqah city and to move to areas controlled by the “Euphrates Wrath” Operation Forces