MESOP NEWS SYRIA –ROJAVA : PKK/PYD CAPTURED TABQA UNDER SDF BANNER : Kurds-Led SDF Claims Capture of ISIS-Held Tabqa
By Scott Lucas – May 11, 2017 – eaworldview – The US-supported, Kurds-led Syrian Democratic Forces are claiming a significant advance in their campaign to remove the Islamic State from northern Syria.The SDF said on Wednesday that it has full control of the town of Tabqa and its adjacent dam, the largest in Syria, after weeks of attacks.Tabqa is about 40 km (25 miles) along the Euphrates River west of the city of Raqqa, ISIS’s central position in the country.Backed by US airstrikes, weapons, and special forces, the SDF moved into part of Tabqa Dam in late March. Last week, they claimed much of Taqba city, gradually pushing ISIS into a few northern districts. SDF spokesman Talal Silo said yesterday that the city had been captured “thanks to the sacrifices of the SDF’s heroes and with the full, unlimited support of the U.S.-led international coalition”.
The US envoy for the anti-ISIS campaign, Brett McGurk, tweeted: Attention now turns to the offensive for Raqqa, held up for months amid political disputes around leadership and the involvement of the Kurdish militia YPG, the key faction in the SDF.Turkey considers the YPG as part of the Turkish Kurdish insurgency PKK, which has battled the Turkish security forces for more than 30 years and is considered a terrorist group by the US. Ankara has hoped that the Turkish-rebel Euphrates Shield Force could take over the leading role in the offensive.
But the US, after months of maneuvering between Ankara and the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Party (PYD) and its YPG militia, appears to be tilting towards the latter. This week the Trump Administration signalled its intentions with formal approval of the arms that have been given to the SDF since its formation in late 2015. www.mesop.de