Tags: tabqa | isis | syria | liberated | raqqa

Tabqa: ISIS Loses Control of Key Town to Syrian Democratic Forces

Image: Tabqa: ISIS Loses Control of Key Town to Syrian Democratic Forces

A Syrian Democratic Forces(SDF) fighter walks near destroyed airplane parts inside Tabqa military airport after taking control of it from Islamic State fighters, west of Raqqa city, Syria April 9, 2017. (Rodi Said/Reuters)

By    |   Thursday, 11 May 2017 09:02 AM

Tabqa, a strategic town for ISIS in Syria, has been retaken by U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces, giving allies a new route to the militant stronghold of Raqqa.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said that its fighters have "completely liberated" Tabqa as well as an important nearby dam, which are both located about 25 miles west of Raqqa, the BBC News reported. Raqqa has been considered ISIS's de facto capital in Syria.

The broadcaster said that the fighting between the SDF and the Islamic State in Tabqa had been happening for weeks. ISIS fighters had taken up hiding in neighborhoods in the northern portion of the city as well as the dam in an effort to hold onto Tabqa, reported the BBC News.

The Associated Press reported that Tabqa was the last major urban settlement on the road to Raqqa.

SDF spokesman Talal Silo said they were able to capture Tabqa "thanks to the sacrifices of the SDF's heroes and with the full, unlimited support of the U.S.-led international coalition," Reuters reported.

U.S. forces were able to help the SDF conduct an airborne landing on the bank of the Euphrates River in late March, allowing them to win control of a critical airbase nearby, Reuters said.

The retaking of Tabqa comes shortly after the United States announced that it would arm Syrian Kurdish fighters as they pushed to recapture Raqqa despite boisterous opposition from NATO ally Turkey, the AP reported.

The U.S. will arm members of the Kurdish Popular Protection Units (YPG), who are fighting with the SDF, wrote the BBC News. Turkey considers the YPG an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The Kurdish Workers' Party has fought Turkey for Kurdish autonomy in the country for 30 years, the BBC News noted. U.S. officials countered by saying that Kurdish forces have driven out militants from 2,300 square miles of northern Syria over the past two years, with the help of U.S. air strikes.

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Tabqa, a strategic town for ISIS in Syria, has been retaken by U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces, giving allies a new route to the militant stronghold of Raqqa.
tabqa, isis, syria, liberated, raqqa
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2017-02-11
Thursday, 11 May 2017 09:02 AM
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