Syrian Forces Advance Closer to ISIS-Held Raqqah City: Syria Envoy

Syrian Forces Advance Closer to ISIS-Held Raqqah City: Syria Envoy
Thu Jun 9, 2016 20:21:32

Damascus forces have advanced close to the ISIS stronghold of Raqqah, being now only 20 kilometers (12 miles) away from the city, The Syrian ambassador to Russia announced.

“The Syrian army is moving successfully, it is now some 20 km from Raqqah,” Riyad Haddad said on Thursday, adding that the militants are leaving their bases “possibly to hide.”

Haddad further linked growing terrorist attacks targeting civilians in Syria to the terrorists’ inability to resist the Syrian armed forces.

A Syrian military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, also said government troops, backed by Russian air power, are now closer Raqqah than the armed units of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a coalition of Kurdish and Arab forces.

“We are gradually moving towards al-Raqqah from the south and from the west and are now closer to it than opposition forces, which are acting jointly with the US,” he said.

Raqqah city, on the northern bank of the Euphrates River, about 160 kilometers east of Aleppo, was overrun by Takfiri terrorists in March 2013, and in 2014 was proclaimed the center for most of the terrorists’ administrative and control tasks.   

Syrian forces are now engaged in a military offensive to liberate the Daesh-held city.

Elsewhere, a Russian ceasefire monitoring center in Syria warned that al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front terrorists continue to shell populated areas in Aleppo Province.

“Mortars and multiple rocket launchers have shelled the populated localities across the embattled region, said a representative of the center.

The Syrian envoy also accused Turkey of planning to form an “incubator” for terrorist groups in northern Syria, underlining the necessity for closing the border between the two states in a bid to cut the flow of arms to militants.

“There is a need to close the Syrian-Turkish border and ban terrorists, weapons, funding intended for terrorist activities, there is a need to impose tough sanctions on those who allow that,” Haddad said.

He further warned that “terror will backfire on the countries that have used this card.”

Damascus regards Turkey as one of the main supporters of the militants fighting the government forces in the Arab country, Press TV reported.


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