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U.S.-Backed Syria Fighters Launch New Drive Against IS


Fighters from the Kurdish-Arab alliance, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, wave from a truck driving through the village of Al-Haymar, located on the western outskirts of the Islamic State (IS) bastion of Raqqa, in December.

U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters and Syrian allies say they have launched an offensive against Islamic State (IS) militants in their stronghold city of Raqqa.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on February 4 the campaign was being undertaken with "increasing support from the [U.S.-led] international coalition forces."

It said the new drive involved both air strikes and backing from coalition special forces on the ground.

A spokeswoman for SDF, which includes the Kurdish YPG militia, said it was the third phase of the Raqqa operation that began in November.

The goal is to isolate Raqqa from the rest of IS-held territories before storming the city itself, the fighters said.

A day earlier, air strikes by the U.S.-led coalition destroyed two bridges on the southern edge of Raqqa.

Jordan, which is part of the coalition, said it had conducted air strikes against IS in southern Syria on February 3, hitting an ammunition depot, a car bomb factory, and a barracks.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters
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