Continued fighting in areas in the western part of Al-Raqqah city and ISIS continues its counter attacks
Al-Raqqah Province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Violent battles continue between the Syria Democratic Forces backed by the US Special Forces on one hand and ISIS on the other in Al-Raqqah city as a result of a counter attack carried out by ISIS on areas in the western part of Al-Raqqah city. Casualties were reported at both sides. The SOHR published yesterday that the Grand Battle of Al-Raqqah ended its 49th day with continued violent fighting between the SDF backed by the US Special Forces on one hand and ISIS on the other along with the hovering of the International Coalition warplanes and Apache aircrafts in the city skies, targeting ISIS-controlled areas inside the city every now and then. As a result, the SDF managed to take control of more areas, expanding territories under their control. The SOHR observed that the SDF managed to take control of more areas in Al-Raqqah city, which is considered the main stronghold of the “Islamic State” organization in Syria. In fact, the SDF did not only manage to fully control more neighborhoods but also to move deeper into other neighborhoods. They were able in 7 weeks of battles in Al-Raqqah city and its countryside to control about 41% of the area of Al-Raqqah city, taking control of the entire areas located west of the New Bridge in the southern and western sections of Al-Raqqah city. Specifically, they took full control of neighborhoods of Al-Sabahiya, Al-Romaniya, Hutteen, Qadisiyah and Yarmouk, west of the city, in addition to Mashlab, Al-Batani and Al-Sinaa neighborhoods. Moreover, they control about half of the neighborhood of Hisham bin Abdul Malik and parts of the Old City and the neighborhoods Al-Rawda and Al-Rumaila as well as the Euphrates Basin Housing and Al-Idikhar Housing and the northern parts of Al-Dar’eiyah neighborhood. The Panorama roundabout, Panorama Triangle and the western parts of Nazlat Shhada neighborhood are also under their gunfire coverage. The SOHR also learned that groups of the Syria Democratic Forces operating in the southern part of Al-Raqqah city are attempting to advance and unite by advancing and taking control of Hisham Bin Abdul Malik neighborhood and Nazlat Shhada neighborhood, located on the northern banks of the Euphrates. If so, the Syria Democratic Forces would clamp down on the “Islamic State” organization, the power of which is concentrated in the center of Al-Raqqah city.