Rojda Felat, commander of the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) in Syria, which is part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the “Euphrates Wrath Operation” to liberate Raqqa from ISIS, said that the attack will be launched in June: "The attack on Raqqa will take place in the beginning of the summer." It's believed that there are almost 4,000 fighters from the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) in Raqqa, which is the ISIS "caliphate" and major stronghold. The SDF is joining with the elders of Raqqa's tribes to surrender: "We call upon all Syrians who joined the ranks of ISIS and those who carry arms, administrators or preachers, to surrender themselves to the nearest military base of the SDF to preserve his or her life and family, and the city from destruction. We are ready to provide all relief and humanitarian support to those who surrender within a maximum of ten days." ARA News (Syria)
The SDF consists mostly of Kurdish fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG), along with a lesser number of fighters from the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Once Raqqa is captured, the plan is to go down the Euphrates Valley and completely destroy ISIS, which currently controls about 35% of Syria.
The United States military has been gradually increasing its involvement with the SDF, which it backs. It's believed that there are about 700-1,000 US special forces troops in the area. Several hundred are being sent mainly to protect the Kurds from Turkey's military.
Last week, the US military announced that it will move quickly to get weapons, including small arms, mortars, heavy machine guns, shoulder-fired weapons and ammunition, into the hands of the YPG Kurds for use in fighting ISIS. Al Arabiya
The US considers the YPG to be the most effective fighting force in Syria against ISIS.
Turkish officials are furious at this, since they consider arming the Kurds to be an existential threat to Turkey. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has conducted numerous terrorist attacks within Turkey, and has conducted an on-and-off civil war in Turkey for decades.
Turkey's president Tayyip Recep Erdogan will be visiting president Donal Trump in Washington today (Tuesday), and Syria will be a major topic on the agenda.... Sputnik News (Moscow)