Islamic State 'on the verge' of Raqqa defeat

"Today or tomorrow the city may be liberated," YPG spokesman Nouri Mahmoud said.

By REUTERS
October 14, 2017 10:58
1 minute read.
Islamic State 'on the verge' of Raqqa defeat

A view of buildings destroyed during clashes between Syrian Democratic Forces and Islamic State militants in Raqqa.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

BEIRUT - Islamic State is on the verge of defeat in Syria's Raqqa and the city may finally be cleared of the jihadists on Saturday or Sunday, the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia said on Saturday.

"The battles are continuing in Raqqa city. Daesh (Islamic State) is on the verge of being finished. Today or tomorrow the city may be liberated," YPG spokesman Nouri Mahmoud told Reuters by telephone.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The YPG dominates the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Arab and Kurdish militias that has been battling since June to defeat Islamic State at Raqqa, which served as the jihadist group's de facto capital in Syria.

An activist group that reports on Raqqa, Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, said on its Facebook page on Saturday that dozens of buses had entered Raqqa city overnight, having traveled from the northern Raqqa countryside.

The Britain-based Observatory said Syrian Islamic State fighters and their families had already left the city, and buses had arrived to evacuate remaining foreign fighters and their families. It did not say where they would be taken to.

The Observatory said the evacuation was taking place according to a deal reached between the SDF and the US-led coalition on the one hand, and Islamic State on the other.

The US-led coalition and SDF officials could not immediately be reached for comment on the Observatory report.



During the more than six-year Syrian war, the arrival of buses in a conflict zone has often signaled an evacuation of combatants and civilians.

In August, Islamic State fighters agreed to be evacuated from a Lebanon-Syria border area, the first time the militants had publicly agreed to a forced evacuation from territory they held in Syria.

Civilians have been making perilous journeys to escape Islamic State-held areas as SDF forces advance. The SDF says it helps transport them away from the fighting after they flee.

The offensive to drive Islamic State out of Raqqa, its de facto Syrian capital which it seized in 2014, has long outlasted initial predictions by SDF officials who said ahead of a final assault in June that it could take just weeks.

The US-led coalition could not immediately be reached for comment.

Related Content

July 16, 2018
Mass protests sweep Iraq, target pro-Iran militias and parties

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN