A US official confirmed on Wednesday that American military advisors are currently operating inside the city of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s (ISIS) de facto capital in Syria.
Colonel Ryan Dillon, a military spokesman for the US-led coalition, said that the troops include special operations forces, and are working in an “advise, assist and accompany” role to support local fighters from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the battle against ISIS.
The SDF launched a major operation to liberate the city of Raqqa from ISIS radicals. On June 6, the Syrian Democratic Forces announced the official start of the battle for Raqqa city.
Raqqa has been known as a de facto capital for the ISIS self-proclaimed Caliphate since the summer of 2014.
The Kurdish-Arab-Christian alliance of SDF has been isolating Raqqa since November 2016, when the US-backed alliance launched the so-called Euphrates Wrath Operation.
During the first phase of Euphrates Wrath, which began on November 6, 2016, the SDF liberated roughly 560 km² in Northern Raqqa.
On 10 December, 2016, the SDF launched the second phase of the Euphrates Wrath, during which it captured over 2500 km² in Western Raqqa.
On 4 February, 2017, the Syrian Democratic Forces launched the third phase of the Euphrates Wrath Operation, and liberated dozens of villages in Eastern Raqqa from ISIS jihadists.
The campaign is ultimately aimed at liberating the city of Raqqa from ISIS extremists.
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