US-backed SDF say they launched Phase III of anti-ISIS offensive

Orient Net 2017-02-04 14:09:00

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The so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by the US, declared on Saturday a new offensive to capture Raqqa, which has become the de-facto capital of the terrorist organization ISIS, according to Reuters.

SDF said the offensive was Phase III of a previous operation called “Wrath of the Euphrates”.

The offensive was being undertaken with "increasing support from the (US-led) international coalition forces through guaranteeing air cover for our forces’ advances, or via the help provided by their special teams to our forces on the battle ground," SDF said in a statement.

The SDF are trying to encircle the al-Raqqa city and cut off supply lines to ISIS. 

ISIS took control of the city in 2014 and is their last major urban stronghold in Syria.

Recently, US-led coalition warplanes have destroyed the main water pipeline supplying the city, as well as two bridges, but ISIS repaired the water supply later. 

The SDF offensive began in November 2016. One month into the operation, the US announced it would be sending 200 additional troops to support the fight.