US Navy handout photo shows an F/A-18E Super Hornet as it prepares to fly off the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush to conduct flight operations over Iraq and Syria, in the Mediterranean Sea, June 6, 2017. (Via AFP)
A US-led coalition bombing positions in Syria has reportedly hit an ancient wall in the city of Raqqah
to enable a US-backed grouping of ground forces to make their way into the Daesh stronghold’s Old City.
Raqqah is the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group’s last urban stronghold in Syria. And the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition of Kurdish and Arab fighters receiving US support, have been closing in on the city to take on Daesh. They first broke into Raqqah on June 6 and have been trying to advance toward the city’s center.
The US-led coalition claimed it had fired “on two small sections of the historic Rafiqah Wall,” Reuters reported.
“The portions targeted were 25-meter sections and will help preserve the remainder of the overall 2,500-meter wall,” the coalition further said in a statement.
Daesh seized Raqqah in 2014, the same year it started a campaign of terror in Syria. The group then named the city its so-called headquarters in Syria. The terrorist group has since suffered major blows by the Syrian military
and may now be about to lose Raqqah as well.
The US-led coalition started hitting what it says are Daesh positions in Syria in September 2014. It has obtained no permission from the government in Damascus or the United Nations (UN) for the aerial bombings.
The Syrian military and allied fighters are also fighting Daesh across the country, including near Raqqah.
Meanwhile, Turkey, too, has deployed military forces to Syria to contain what it sees as the rise of Kurdish forces, who have for long been engaged in a conflict of their own with Ankara.
Members of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) walk in a neighborhood in the northern Syrian city of Raqqah, June 14, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
The Turkish military presence has also forgone the Syrian government’s approval, and the unsanctioned presence of so many foreign forces on Syrian soil risks sparking clashes between the Syrian military and those forces, particularly near Raqqah, where many various forces are concentrated.
Tensions have already been generated.
On June 18, the US-led coalition downed a Syrian fighter plane engaged in operations against Daesh in Raqqah. Also last month, the US-led coalition hit a drone operated by pro-Syrian fighters near the coalition’s al-Tanf garrison, close to the Jordanian border.