US-backed forces launch bid to capture IS Syria bastion Raqa
Ain Issa (Syria) (AFP)
A US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters launched Sunday a long-awaited operation to capture the Islamic State group's de facto Syrian capital Raqa.
"The major battle to liberate Raqa and its surroundings has begun," a commander with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said, reading a statement at a press conference in Ain Issa, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of the jihadist bastion.
The operation comes as Iraqi forces backed by a US-led coalition press an assault to take the jihadist group's Iraqi stronghold of Mosul.
© 2016 AFP