AMMAN U.S. backed Syrian forces repelled a big counter-assault by Islamic Point out militants keeping out at the country’s greatest dam and in the nearby town of Tabqa, the group and activists stated on Sunday.
The dam is a crucial strategic target in the military marketing campaign to isolate and seize the Syrian city of Raqqa, forty km (25 miles) to the east and Islamic State’s major urban stronghold.
The U.S.-backed group stated militants attacked their positions north-east of Tabqa and at an airbase to the south of the town where dozens of their fighters ended up killed but the coalition of Kurdish and Arab militias was generating slower improvements in a village east of the town.
Jehan Sheikh Ahmad, a spokeswoman for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), spearheaded by the highly effective Kurdish YPG militia, stated the militants ended up stepping up their resistance as SDF forces obtained closer to encircling the town and the dam.
“Our forces are advancing…(Islamic Point out )are facing huge troubles and so they are commencing counter-assaults,” stated the formal whose forces have U.S. special forces with them.
The SDF started an assault to seize the dam and the nearby town practically two months in the past soon after the coalition landed some of its fighters on the southern aspect of the Euphrates in the vicinity of Tabqa, leading to its seize of an air foundation.
The SDF has been waging a multi-phased offensive considering that November to isolate Raqqa, with backing from the U.S.-led coalition taking territory to the north and east of the province.
Anxiety OF COLLAPSE
Hundreds of households with their cattle, house, motor bikes and vans ongoing on Sunday to flee from villages less than Islamic Point out regulate.
The U.S.-backed forces say at the very least seven,000 people have taken shelter in their locations considering that the marketing campaign to seize Tabqa.
Numerous are also fleeing air strikes on civilian locations in Raqqa province that have still left dozens useless in accordance to activists and the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Very last thirty day period strikes considered to be conducted by the U.S.-led coalition hit a bakery and a area current market in Tabqa town with dozens of civilians killed. One more raid that hit a university sheltering displaced people in the vicinity of Raqqa also killed scores.
SDF denies civilians are focused.
Islamic Point out and the Syrian government have both of those stated the hydroelectric dam is susceptible to collapse soon after strikes by the U.S. led coalition
Syrian officers say that would direct to catastrophic flooding in the cities and cities in the Euphrates valley downstream.
The SDF and the coalition have denied the dam is in threat.
Citizens, having said that, say an SDF try last week to ease the dam’s h2o concentrations by opening a canal from the Balikh River that flows into the Euphrates experienced flooded cultivated agricultural land in quite a few villages.
(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi enhancing by Ralph Boulton)