US-backed Syrian rebel group says assault on ISIS imminent

"It will be a historic battle, for Raqqa first and Syria second."

October 29, 2015 17:17
2 minute read.
Fighters of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) carry their weapons at a military training

Fighters of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) carry their weapons at a military training camp in Ras al-Ain, Syria. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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 - A Syrian rebel group which is part of a new US-backed alliance that also includes the Kurdish YPG militia announced on Thursday plans for an imminent offensive against Islamic State in Raqqa province, the jihadists' stronghold in Syria.

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said earlier this week the US-led coalition would support local forces as they put pressure on Islamic State in Raqqa and in neighboring Iraq.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Washington has announced a shake-up of its support to the rebels battling the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad, ending a program to train fighters outside Syria and instead providing weapons to groups under US-vetted commanders. It has already dropped ammunition to rebels in the north, but has not specified which groups the aid was bound for.

The Raqqa Revolutionaries Front, which made the announcement in an online video statement, is one of several rebel groups that recently formed the alliance. The group said earlier this month US weapons were on their way.

"We will soon announce zero hour for the beginning of the battle of liberation from oppression and persecution," leader Abu Issa said in the video, which was posted on YouTube by an activist group called Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently.

"It will be a historic battle, for Raqqa first and Syria second," Abu Issa said, appealing to the local population.

"Today we declare Raqqa province in its entirety a military zone. For this reason its people must not go near areas where there are Daesh elements" for their own safety, he said, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

He did not mention US military aid, nor the name of the wider alliance formed earlier this month, the Democratic Forces of Syria.

The alliance includes the Kurdish YPG militia and a number of Syrian Arab rebel groups such as the Raqqa Revolutionaries Front, which consists mainly of Arab tribal insurgents drawn from the area.

The Arab groups in the new alliance are operating under the name "The Syrian Arab Coalition."

Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday the US military would intensify air strikes and might carry out more ground attacks against Islamic State.

He said the United States was now supporting Syrian Arab forces already inside the country fighting Islamic State rather than trying to train completely new moderate Syrian fighters outside the country, an effort that cost millions of dollars and produced few trained troops.

Related Content

Israel Rescues White Helmets from Syria July 22
July 23, 2018
Israel's Position On Syria Unchanged Following 'White Helmets' Operation