US-backed SDF advances against Daesh in Syria's Raqqa

The YPG-dominated alliance of SDF militia claims it has taken control of a town south of the city of Raqqa where Daesh ran a major military base and training camp.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A militant from the YPG looks at a plume of smoke after a coalition airstrike in Raqqa, Syria, June 16, 2017.

US-backed Syrian militias have captured a town south of the city of Raqqa where Daesh ran a major military base, a spokesman for the militias said on Tuesday.

An alliance of militias fighting under the banner of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), mostly dominated by YPG militants, is trying to oust Daesh from Raqqa, its de facto capital in Syria.

SDF media official Mustafa Bali said the militias had seized the town of al Ukeirshi, some 15 km (10 miles) downstream from Raqqa on the Euphrates river.

The SDF pushed into Raqqa last month after a long offensive, backed up by air strikes and special forces from the US-led coalition.

A series of recent advances along the southern bank of the Euphrates have allowed the SDF to completely besiege the militants inside Raqqa and to press on south of the city.

Ceasefire violations

Meanwhile, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the regime has violated the ceasefire agreement to de-escalate fighting in southwest Syria.

The US and Russia reached a ceasefire agreement for southwestern Syria on Friday at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, following a meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

TRT World's Nick Davies-Jones has the latest from Turkish-Syrian border town of Kilis.

Staffan de Mistura, The UN envoy for Syria, confirmed the violations, but said it largely has held on, and could contribute to fresh peace talks in Geneva.

"The agreement is basically broadly holding quite well. l know in all agreements, there is a period of adjustment, we are watching that very carefully," said de Mistura.

FSA downs regime aircraft

The Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) said on Tuesday it downed a regime helicopter near Um Ramam, northwest Mahroutha in the Syrian Desert.

The FSA said the regime violated the ceasefire by attacking the opposition-held areas.

“ Regime forces target neighborhoods of Daraa city with heavy machine guns in continuous violation of the truce,” the FSA said on social media.

The claims could not immediately be verified or confirmed.

TRTWorld and agencies