U.S.-backed SDF controls 41 pct of IS stronghold in Syria's Raqqa

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-24 19:28:37|Editor: Song Lifang
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DAMASCUS, July 24 (Xinhua) -- The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has controlled 41 percent of the Islamic State (IS) stronghold in Syria's northern city of Raqqa after launching nearly 50-day offensive there, a monitor group reported on Monday.

The battles for Raqqa have been raging for 49 days since the Kurdish-led SDF, with the heavy backing of the U.S.-led coalition, launched their major offensive to take Raqqa from IS, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The UK-based watchdog group said the SDF fighters are advancing and controlling more neighborhoods in Raqqa.

Over the span of seven weeks, the Kurdish-led groups captured all of the areas in western Raqqa, namely the neighborhoods of Sbahiyeh, Romaniyeh, Hiteen, Qadisiyeh and Yarmouk.

The SDF fighters also controlled the neighborhoods Mashlab, Btani, Sina'a and half of Hashem neighborhood as well as other areas in the eastern part of Raqqa.

The Observatory said the IS militants are now concentrated in the central part of the city.

This progress is a result of the heavy shelling of the U.S.-led coalition and the Kurdish-led groups on the IS positions, the Observatory added.

It said 940 civilians and militants have been killed over the past 50 days in Raqqa as a result of the intense shelling, violent battles, and explosions in Raqqa.