Syria Troops, US-Backed Kurds Both Seize ISIS Territory in Raqqa Province

Kurds Near Manbij as Military Advances on Tabqa

by Jason Ditz, June 07, 2016

ISIS continues to lose ground in two distinct military offensives in the Raqqa Province today, with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group dominated by the Kurdish YPG, making real progress in their offensive against Manbij, now just 2 km from the city’s edge.

That offensive in northern Raqqa, which has been going on for a couple of weeks, appears to have spawned a second offensive, this one by the Syrian military, which used the ISIS defensive shift northward to attack through Hama, into the southern part of Raqqa.

Despite an ISIS counterattack in Hama that slowed the advance of the military, troops are now reported to be about 25 km away from Tabqa, a relatively small town, but a strategically important one along a key highway as well as near a major airbase that the Syrian military would love to recover use of.

Both sides are insisting right now that they don’t have any near-term intentions to advance on the city of Raqqa itself, the ISIS capital, but as they continue to chip away at ISIS territory both north and south of the city, its defensibility may fall into doubt as well.

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