Fighting in the area northwest of the ISIS capital city of Raqqa has resulted in the Kurdish YPG seizing at least five villages over the past day, a significant new gain of territory in what they say is a multi-staged plan to surround the city.
YPG forces, with US troops embedded, control a ring of territory north of the city of Raqqa, and are now focusing on the west and northwest. Surrounding either the east of the city, or the south and southwest, could be much more complicated, as it is further from Kurdish supply lines.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that five villages were seized, and reported three Kurdish fighters were killed in the offensive. It’s unclear from the reports if there were casualties on the ISIS side, or indeed how much fighting took place.
Though the YPG is carrying out this operation under the auspices of the “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF), in practice only YPG forces are participating, as the smaller Arab factions based in Raqqa that were to take part have since withdrawn, complaining the Kurds were controlling too much of the operation themselves.