Syrian Army Recaptures Strategic Junction Leading to ISIS-held Raqqah City
The Friday recapture was the first marked advance by the army into Syria’s north-central Raqqah Province.
Last Saturday, they entered the province for the first time since 2014, when ISIS unleashed its campaign of terror on the Arab country.
The capture of the junction, which also leads to Tabqa, another Daesh-held city in Raqqah, was the climax of a week-long army push with the backing of Russian fighter jets.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, said Syrian forces were now 15 kilometers (9 miles) from Tabqa, which itself lies some 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Raqqah City.
The Syrian army said large numbers of the terrorists were killed during the Friday conquest. The monitor put the death toll among the Daesh militants at 80.
Separately, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition of Kurdish and Arab fighters, are moving towards Manbij, another city in Raqqah Province near the Turkish border.
On Thursday, the SDF forces managed to cut off the main ISIS supply route to Turkey after encircling Manbij.
The Observatory, however, said the advance was at a slow pace.
Raqqah, on the northern bank of the Euphrates River, about 160 km east of Aleppo, was overrun by Takfiri terrorists in March 2013, and in 2014 was proclaimed the center for most of the terrorists’ administrative and control tasks.
The potential recaptures of Raqqah in Syria as the northern Iraq city of Mosul are seen as the ultimate blows to Daesh.
The Iraqi army is also massing tanks and troops south of Mosul, in preparation for an offensive planned later this year to retake the largest city under the control of the militants, Press TV reported.