Kurdish US-led forces kick off major offensive on Raqqa, IS stronghold in Syria

U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish force says it has begun an offensive to capture the northern city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State group (Photo: Internet)

A U.S.-backed Syrian force says it has begun an offensive to capture the northern city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State group, CBC reported.

Talal Sillo, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, told reporters Tuesday that operations have begun in co-ordination with the U.S.-led coalition, it added.

SDF fighters began advancing toward Raqqa in November, capturing wide areas from the extremists. Last week, they reached the northern and eastern gates of the city, according to the CBC.

Raqqa is currently surrounded from the east, north and west and opposition activists have reported intense shelling on the city since Monday night, CBC indicated.

Syria’s state news agency SANA reported on Tuesday that airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition killed 12 people, including women and children. It says the families were fleeing the city in boats across the Euphrates River ahead of an expected all-out attack by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, it also added.

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