0

Comments

Facebook

Twitter

Google

send


NOW

More US special forces for
Raqqa than Manbij: monitor

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that US special operations forces were being deployed in the Kobane region north of the de-facto ISIS capital of Raqqa.

Western special forces north of Raqqa. (AFP/Delil Souleiman)

BEIRUT - US special operations forces have begun to deploy outside Raqqa in order to aid the recently-announced Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) campaign against ISIS around its de-facto capital.

 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Monday that a contingent of US special operators arrived in the Kobane region, north of Raqqa near the Syrian-Turkish border, as part of the offensive spearheaded by the Kurdish-led SDF troops backed by Washington.

 

Although the monitoring NGO tracking developments in the war-torn country did not provide estimates on the number of troops dispatched for the Raqqa front, trusted sources told the SOHR that more US soldiers were taking part in the new campaign than did in the Manbij offensive against ISIS earlier in 2016.

 

On Sunday, a source in the SDF told AFP that 50 advisors were deployed as part of Operation Euphrates Wrath, which seeks to surround Raqqa and cut logistic lines leading into the ISIS stronghold from the east and west, in conjunction with the offensive against Mosul in Iraq.

 

Pictures have emerged in the past day showing US troops near the frontlines, with both Reuters and Russia Today, among others, publishing photos of the special operations troops outside Raqqa.

 

Washington has yet to issue any official statements on its troop presence in Operation Euphrates Wrath, a large-scale campaign that is expected to last months amid regional political jockeying over which forces will enter the predominantly Arab-populated Raqqa.

 

The SOHR also reported that the US-led coalition fighting ISIS sent “advanced weapons and ammunition” to the SDF troops right before they launched their campaign over the weekend.

 

SDF spokesperson Talal Silo confirmed the claim, telling the Wall Street Journal that the “battle was contingent on the arrival of a shipment of weapons and ammunition from the coalition.”

 

NOW's English news desk editor Albin Szakola (@AlbinSzakola) wrote this report.

Western special forces north of Raqqa. (AFP/Delil Souleiman)

Pictures have emerged in the past day showing US troops near the frontlines.