WAR IN SYRIA: U.S.-BACKED FORCES FIGHTING ISIS BREACH RAQQA’S OLD CITY WALL
A US-backed Arab and Kurdish alliance attempting to expel the Islamic State group (ISIS) from the southern city of Raqqa, crossed the wall surrounding the old city, said the coalition led by the United States in a statement Tuesday morning.
Coalition forces besieging Raqqa hit two small holes in the Rafiqah wall surrounding the old city, allowing Kurdish Arab forces to go beyond the fortified part of the city.
Brett McGurk, the United States’ special envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition, tweeted that the breakthrough was a “milestone in the campaign to free the city.”
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The attacks against the wall enabled the forces to choose the best entrance in the old town, to avoid the mines that ISIS had requested. Choosing a point of entry also makes coalition forces less vulnerable to suicide attacks and sniper vehicles elsewhere.
The coalition also said that only 25-meter (82-foot) sections of the wall were concentrated, in order to preserve the historic 2,500-foot wall surrounding the Old Town.
“Unlike ISIS who deliberately destroyed the ruins of Palmira and Al-Nuri Mosque and use sites such as The Wall, hospitals, schools and mosques as Rafiqa storage and weapons weapons combat positions, coalition forces are Making a great effort to protect civilians and preserve these sites for future generations, “Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman, said in a statement.
“The most humane way to save the people of Raqqa is to gain ISIS speed and decision, which terrified the people of Raqqa for more than three years, only in this way that people can be Raqqa keep and the city returns to peace” , Continued.
The wall breach comes after the alliance known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, surrounded the entire city after the capture of two villages in the south, which ISIS militants fled.
Raqqa was the first city where militants of the Islamist group captured in January 2014. It served as de facto capital of the Isis auto caliphate between the Iraq-Syrian border.
The jihadist group used the city to plan attacks in Europe, hold Western hostages and welcome their executives at any given time. The group also controls the ancient Syrian city of Palmira, but Raqqa is the largest city that has captured the country.
The coalition estimates that some 2,500 jihadists will defend the city. But SDF forces have made rapid progress, securing at least a quarter of the city’s districts since the start of the offensive on June 6