On Friday the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) agreed to resume the ‘Wrath of the Euphrates’ campaign against the ISIS HQ in Raqqa, departing from Tall Saman which they captured in November. Currently the forefront of the democratic forces led by the YPG / YPJ is 30 km from Ar Raqqah, capital of fundamentalist Syria.The Turkish invasion with their FSA jihadists mercenaries in the west of Al Bab and north of Manbij cautioned the SDF not to continue the advance on ar-Raqqah, (see SDF will halt Raqqa operation if Turkey does not stop attacking Manbij). Hopefully they now have guarantees that Turkey will be restrained.
The SDF was set up by the Kurdish YPG/YPJ rebels as a non ethnic and non religion based Coalition. It is rapidly growing, doubling in size in 6 months as various brigades, mainly arabic, join up and undergo training, and includes western volunteer soldiers and medics, especially from anarchist milieu who support the Rojava Revolution. (see Rojava Revolution gets support: Mass Desertions to join SDF)
The SDF is reluctantly supported by the US coalition as ‘the only force capable of confronting ISIS’. The Turkish option might only replace one jihadist group with another and could spill into a general war with the expansionist Erdogan ultra nationalists.
Raqqa – The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) will launch the second phase of the Raqqa campaign against ISIS on Saturday and have recruited more than 1,000 fighters to join the operation.
The co-Chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), Salih Muslim, said on Wednesday that the first phase of the Raqqa campaign to surround the city is almost over.
“The second phase of Liberating Raqqa will be declare tomorrow in press conference,” said Massoud Masoud, a Kurdish journalist.
The PYD co-Chair said that the first stage of the operation is to besiege Raqqa and that this phase is almost finished. But going to Raqqa depends on the international coalition and international powers. “[It depends] how much they are ready to prepare such power to liberate Raqqa with the international alliance.” Muslim said.
Coalition spokesperson Air Force Col. John Dorrian on Thursday said that airstrikes are accelerating in Raqqa on ISIS fighters and resources in support of the Syrian Democratic Forces’ offensive, and 300 such strikes in the past month enabled liberation of more than 270 square miles of territory from ISIS.
- The Coopfunding campaign raised 98K euros, now closed, (14 July16), but the contribute page lists various ways people for people to participate and help this cause. Also right now volunteers can`t get into as the siege is total. see also: Rojava Revolution Plan: Organising and Funding Projects and Volunteers
Liberating territory in northern Syria has freed up thousands of civilians from ISIS’s grip, but many remain displaced. “Many of those people are moving into Manbij,” Dorrian said, “but unfortunately, as they move in that direction, and even as they find refuge in and around the city, they’re being targeted by ISIS small arms and [improvised explosive device] attacks.”
The Kurdish-led SDF and its Arab elements established a governance in Manbij representing the local population, and it’s begun to supply services to Manbij, including opening more than 240 schools since the city’s liberation, according to Dorrian, who added that a similar system is expected for Raqqa once it is liberated.
“As the SDF isolates Raqqa, the number of SDF fighters continues to grow, as another Arab brigade joins the SDF with more than 1,000 citizens, men and women, joining to reclaim and protect their homes,” he said.
More than 1,500 new SDF fighters are being trained to participate in the Raqqa campaign and defend the forward line of troops. The majority of the new recruits are Arabs, which, according to the coalition, is critical to the liberation and to setting up governance for the city’s residents.
Roughly four weeks ago, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces launched the Euphrates Wrath Operation, with support from the US-led coalition. The operation’s long-term objective is the isolation and elimination of the Islamic State in Raqqa.
During the first phase of Euphrates Wrath, SDF soldiers captured an area measuring approximately 560 km2, containing dozens of towns, villages and farms. Military sources told ARA News that more than 185 ISIS jihadists have been killed since November 6.
The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), Syriac Military Council, Raqqa Revolutionaries Battalion and Tel Abyad Revolutionary Brigade are participating in Euphrates Wrath. In addition to these local fighters and foreign soldiers from a half-dozen nations are participating, either as YPG volunteers or under the auspices of the US-led coalition.
Reporting by: Enwer Omar and Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News
SDF DOUBLES IN SIZE WITH MASS DESERTIONS FROM JIHADI AND TURKISH CONTROLLED GROUPS…
FROM Wikipedia… 2016 July–December
- On 14 August 2016, after securing Manbij, the SDF established the al-Bab Military Council with the goal of securing the city of al-Bab and it’s surrounding countryside.
- On 21 August, in a similar fashion to the establishment of the Manbij and al-Bab Military Councils, the SDF established the Jarablus Military Council with the goal of securing the city of Jarablus and it’s surrounding countryside. The council also includes the newly established group, the Manbij Revolutionary Brigades. The commander of the council, General Sattar Jader from Jarabulus Hawks Brigades, was assassinated the next day, a suspect was later arrested.
- On 13 September 2016 the al-Nukhbat Brigade, consisting of members from the al-Shaitat and Shammar tribes and led by Ahmad Jarba, joined the SDF. While some of its members already had earlier defected and joined the SDF, the event was considered a major political coup for the SDF, as Jarba (who also is the cousin of Al-Sanadid Forcesleader Hamidi Daham al-Hadi) was the former President of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and now agreed to work with the Syrian Democratic Council framework instead.
- On 1 October 2016, 250 fighters from Manbij formed the Euphrates Liberation Brigade as part of the Manbij Military Council and the SDF.
- On 14 October 2016, the FSA group Free Officers Union numbering in the hundreds joined the SDF.
- On 31 October 2016, an all-female battalion was established within’ the al-Bab Military Council.
- In early November 2016, a ‘battalion’ from the Sham Legion defected and joined the SDFs Manbij Military Council. Also during this period, the former leader, along with remnants of the main FSA faction Owais al-Qarani Brigade from Al-Thawrah joined the SDF.
- On 20 November 2016, 200 fighters completed training joined the SDF and then where sent to participate in the Northern Raqqa offensive.
- On 27 November 2016, 260 fighters joined the Manbij Military Council and formed the Manbij Hawks Brigade.
- On 1 December 2016, the Shahba Brigade, made up of locals from al-Bab and Azaz was established, and joined the SDF.
- On 10 December 2016, the SDF announced a new Arab brigade consisting of more than 1,000 men and women from the al-Raqqa area had joined the SDF with an additional 1.500+ due to be armed by the US, still in training as part of the upcoming second phase of the Northern Raqqa offensive which is slated to be launched on 10 December
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