Islamic State held Tabqah encircled by US-backed SDF

US-backed SDF surround Islamic State held Tabqah city

TABQA (KOMNEWS) – Reports on Thursday said that the Islamic State (IS) held Syrian city of Tabqah had been surrounded, or almost surrounded by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

SDF began the operation on Tabqah after airdrops and boats landed supplies, vehicles and fighters behind enemy lines across the Euphrates River west and northwest of Tabqah on the night of 21-22 March.

Fierce clashes have resulted in the death of several SDF fighters with at least 50 IS militants being killed in the past 36 hours, according to local sources.

A video statement released by the SDF showed the Tabqah dam working seemingly undamaged. IS media channels had claimed the dam near the city was under risk of being damaged by coalition airstrikes and thus posed a threat as it would flood villages in the area if destroyed.

Thousands of refugees have fled the city and its surrounding villages to areas controlled by the SDF north of the Tabqah dam since the beginning of the offensive.

Tabqah is 55km west of IS stronghold Raqqa and it is thought that the US-backed SDF will capture the city before launching the final offensive on Raqqa’s central neighbourhoods.