|Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces on the roof of a building near Raqqa, June 7, 2017.|
In Syria, US-backed Kurdish-dominated forces penetrated west of Raqqa on Saturday (10 June), opening a second front in Syria’s main stronghold of the Islamic state.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), supported by the United States, are now present in two sectors of Raqqa, the self-proclaimed capital of the Islamic State group. After taking the Machlab district on 7 June in the East, the FDS entered Sabahiya in the West on Saturday, where they strengthened their positions before continuing their advance.
On the other hand, the progress of the Kurdish-Arab coalition is slower from the north, where the jihadists have important fortifications.
This progress on the ground comes less than a week after the start of the great battle of Raqqa, launched by the FDS with the massive support of the aviation of the international coalition led by the United States. According to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, at least 68 civilians, including one OSDH informant, were killed by American bombing in five days.
The United Nations says that 160,000 civilians are still in Raqqa, which is defended by 3,000 to 5,000 jihadists. In front of them, the assailants line up 15,000 fighters, supported by artillery batteries and hundreds of US special forces instructors. The Syrian ArmyAnd its allies are 70 kilometers west of Raqqa.