Syria's female soldiers prepare to take on Isis in battle for Raqqa

Henrietta Brewer
August 12, 2017

Jihan Sheikh Ahmed, the SDF spokeswoman for the Raqqa campaign, said the women would be mainly deployed to the battlefront against Isis in Raqqa.

U.S. Army Col. Ryan Dillon said that there remains tough fighting ahead and that although the linkup of the Syrian opposition fighters' on the southern edge of Raqqa is significant, it does not in fact cut the city in two.

These battles aim to eliminate the IS in the key cities in Syria, as part of a Russian-U.S. understanding, which allows the Kurdish-led SDF to capture Raqqa city, and the Syrian army to claw back Deir al-Zour.

In Iraq, four strikes were conducted near Rawah and Tal Afar, destroying Islamic State warehouses, explosives factory, tunnel entrances, a command and control node and engaged two Daesh units, the release added.

Dillon's comments reveal a lag in early progress of the SDF fighters that controlled 45 percent of the city as of July 27.

Mustafa Bali, who heads the SDF media center, also confirmed Friday that SDF fighters pushing from opposite sides of the city have met.

"Daesh [ISIS] are using civilians as human shields inside the city", MFS fighter Alexi Chamoun told ARA News.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after Friday prayers in Istanbul that the Cilvegozu crossing in southern Turkey would remain open for food, medicine and some supplies to go across. Turkey's Cilvegozu stands across from Bab al-Hawa in Syria's Idlib province.

"I would say that there are no safe havens in Syria where they can plot attacks safely", Dillon said at a Defense Department press briefing on Thursday.

But she also cautioned about the huge number of displaced Syrians this year - almost 809,000.

Deputy Foreign Minister A.M. Fachir said those 17 nationals, including teenagers, women and infants, had left Syria and reached Iraq's territory, Xinhua news agency reported.

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