Raqqa, Fallujah Operations; US Agreement with ISIS Terrorists | ABNA24

The Saudi ambassador to Baghdad has met with Iraqi minister of defense, pledging on behalf of ISIS’ command that the terror group would pull out of the city. In return, Al-Abadi’s government vowed to direct the Fallujah recapture operation with a consideration of ISIS’ “specific conditions.”

At the same time, there are reports claiming the operation to liberate Syria’s Raqqa has started in the north of the province as an outcome of American-Kurdish cooperation, with the US commanding the assault and the Kurdish forces performing the mission. This comes while the Kurds are seen to be unable to start battle with ISIS in Raqqa without designing a convenient fight plan just like that of the Iraqis.

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Syria army enters Raqqa as Kurds advance from north | The National

Syrian troops backed by Russian air support entered the ISIL-held Raqqa province on Saturday for the first time in almost two years as US -backed Kurdish-led fighters advanced from the north in a bid to trap the militants in a pincer movement.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said the lightning advance from the south-west with Russian air support brought the army to within 40 kilometres of Tabqa, the town in the Euphrates valley which is the site of the country’s biggest dam and the Lake Assad reservoir, named after Hafez Assad, the late father of Syria’s president Bashar Al Assad. The assault was carried out by regular Syrian army troops reinforced by militia newly-trained by Russia, said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman. Kurdish-led forces also launched an offensive late last month targeting the dam, which lies 50 kilometres upstream of Raqqa, ISIL’s de facto capital in Syria.

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Syrian troops backed by US and Russia press into Raqqa province | DW

Backed by Russian air-power, the Syrian troops are now 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the provincial capital, the city of Raqqa, and closing in on Tabqa, which is home to the country’s largest dam.

Raqqa lies just 30 miles downstream from the dam. Liberating the city from IS control is also one of the goals of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Force, or SDF. The SDF’s other main goal is to seal off the Syrian border with Turkey in order to prevent militants, supplies and food from reaching IS.

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Why Moscow is preparing to return to Syria | Al-Monitor

In an interview published May 31 in Russia’s daily Komsomolskaya Pravda, Lavrov said that the deadline given by Moscow to the militants was about to expire. He added, “The US asked us to extend the deadline for several days prior to the implementation of the plan we had set in advance, whereby any party that breaches the truce would become a legitimate target, irrespective of whether this party is included on the lists of terrorist organizations or not. The Americans requested us to give them a few additional days to present us with their response, but the extended deadline expires this week.”

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Syrian regime seeks to cut off Islamic State’s de facto capital | DPA NEWS

Syrian troops launched an offensive Saturday aimed at cutting off the Islamic State’s stronghold of al-Raqqa from the Turkish border, a monitoring group said.

Troops and militiamen backed by Syrian and Russian warplanes pushed east from the regime outpost of Ithriya, coming within 40 kilometres of the Islamic State-held city of Tabqa and the main Raqqa-Aleppo road, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The offensive comes days after the Kurdish-led Democratic Forces of Syria, backed by US airstrikes, launched an attack further north, also aimed at cutting the jihadists’ de facto capital of al-Raqqa off from its access routes to Turkey.

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