World Bulletin / News Desk
The U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition said as much as 40,000 fighters in northern Syria are ready to isolate Raqqah.
Coalition spokesman Air Force Col. John Dorrian told reporters via video conference that there are now “adequate forces” for the job and a ballpark of 30,000 to 40,000 U.S.-backed forces are ready to envelope the city held by ISIL since 2014.
The Pentagon plans to isolate the Raqqah using Syrian Democratic Forces, an umbrella group led by PKK/PYD and its military wing, the YPG. Due Turkey’s objection to PKK affiliates’ role in retaking the predominantly Arab populated self-declared ISIL capital, Ankara and Washington are still working on plans seize Raqqah.
According to Dorrian, there will be ongoing dialogue between the U.S. and its coalition partners as well as allies to decide who would actually would go in and hold the city while the isolation operation is completed.
Responding to an Anadolu Agency question about who would cut off ISIL supply routes to Raqqah in the south as Syrian Democratic Forces press the militant group from the north, Dorrian said: “there are significant numbers of Arab forces in that area as well” and the coalition is intending to train as many as possible.
Dorrian also addressed reports about an audio recording allegedly by ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and its implication but he said he could not confirm its authenticity.
“It is quite clearly an effort on the part of ISIL to communicate to their fighters,” Dorrian said characterizing it as an evidence for the severity in the control and command ability of ISIL leadership.
In the recording, Baghdadi allegedly addresses ISIL members in the city and asks fighters to hold their grounds and not leave.
He also calls on members not to fight each other.
Last Mod: 04 Kasım 2016, 08:32