An high-rank officer of the Syrian Army revealed details of the military operation to liberate the city of Raqqa in an interview published on Sputnik Arabic.
According to him, the offensive has been launched from several directions at once.
“We’ve already managed to take under control 1,500 square kilometers of territory, hundreds of farms, a village, 400 oil wells, which were used by terrorists to sell oil to Turkey,” the army spokesman said in an interview with Sputnik Arabic.
He also noted that the Syrian government forces managed to achieve a strategic breakthrough by closing the transport connection between Raqqa and the eastern part of Hama province for ISIS (Daesh, ISIL, Islamic State) militants.
“The Syrian army is preparing for an operation to regain control of the al-Tabqa air base [located in Raqqa province]. Russian aviation will provide assistance from the air,” the officer said.
In his turn, a representative of Kurdish self-defense forces, Nuri Mehmud, claim that ISIS is using local residents as human shields in this area.
“Daesh terrorists are surrounded. Therefore, they use civilians as human shields, as they repeatedly did [before]. Because of the presence of civilians in Raqqa, our forces have to act very carefully. They move forward very slowly as we want to avoid civilian casualties. At the same time, we continue to conduct operations to save civilians from the captivity of terrorists. So far, we have managed to save tens of thousands of people from Daesh,” Mehmud said.
Raqqa has remained under ISIS control since 2013, and is considered the de facto capital of the terrorist group. The Syrian Armed Forces have been fighting on Raqqa’s outskirts for several months.
On Sunday, the Iraqi armed forces retook another terrorist-captured city, Mosul in northern Iraq, where the creation of Daesh was first declared in 2014.