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Fight for Raqqa continues

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The Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, backed by a United States-led anti-Daesh coalition, are continuing to push so-called Islamic State from its de-facto capital of Raqqa. 

 

The Raqqa campaign, or officially known as “Operation Wrath of Euphrates”, was launched by the Kurdish-led SDF on Nov 6, 2016 as the most capable local ground-fighting force, according to the US-led coalition, or Inherent Resolve.

Turkey links the Syrian Kurds to the terror wing of the outlawed People’s Protection Units, or YPG, and thus asked the US to replace the SDF Kurds with Turkish armed forces. 

Ankara has made it clear its fears of a Kurdish state along its southern border in northern Syria, a situation that could evolve with large swathes of Kurdish-administered land in Syria. 

Syrian Kurds take no official stance in regards to the Syrian Civil War between contentious President Basher al-Assad and the rebel opposition forces. The SDF is considered the most-effective local ground fighting force against Daesh in the country. 

Iraqi Kurds, and their Peshmerga forces have been instrumental in fighting Daesh in western Iraqi, including the battle for Mosul which concluded earlier this month. 

In October of last year, then US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter called for Wrath of Euphrates to launch in concurrence with the Mosul offensive which started  on Oct 16, 2016.

Recent reports from reliable monitors suggest that over 50% of Raqqa is now under SDF control. 

LGBT brigade formed 

The formation of The Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army, or TQILA, was announced via Twitter on Tuesday. 

The new unit is part of the International Revolutionary People’s Guerrilla Forces, or IRPGF, a division of foreign fighters aligned with and supporting the SDF.

Kurdish officials leading the allied Syrian Democratic Forces have distanced themselves from the new unit, even though it did not claim to be part of the SDF, who it fights alongside against Daesh as part of the IRPGF.

“Social media sites today reported on the formation of a battelion of homosexuals within the Syrian Democratic Forces in Raqqa,” said Mr Bali in a statement.

“We in the Syrian Democratic Forces, while emphasizing our deep respect for human rights, including the rights of homosexuals, we deny the formation of such a battalion within the framework of our forces and we consider this news to be untrue.”

More details to follow. 

Published by: The New Union

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